Kenya has frozen signing of new wind energy projects to allow consumers enjoy benefits of cheaper electricity generated from water.
The Ministry of Energy says any addition of electricity generated from wind into the country’s mix will continue to eat into available hydro, which has to be set aside for use in case of unpredictable wind sources.
Energy Cabinet secretary Charles Keter said the energy set aside known as spinning reserve will have to be minimised to allow consumers enjoy electricity from cheaper sources such as hydro, effectively freezing more installation of wind power plants.
“For every wind power plant we install, we have to set aside a third of its installed capacity as a spinning reserve from hydro. This is energy that we cannot utilise because it is on standby to replace the power from wind which can disappear any moment and which may disrupt the entire grid if not taken care of,” Mr Keter told Nation last week.
Kenya, which has 335.5 megawatts of total installed capacity from wind power has to set aside some 100.65MW from the hydro sources as spinning reserve to step in when wind power supply drops out of blues.
More wind farms will have a significant impact on how scheduling and dispatch are performed by the grid planners.
Wind plants around the world supply on average of between 28 and 40 percent of their installed capacity, a measure known as the capacity factor.
Lake Turkana Wind Power which was integrated into the grid in September 2018, operated at an average capacity factor of 57 percent in the first full year of supply according the firm’s management, underlining the quality of wind around Loyiangalani area where the plant is situated.
The slowdown on allowing more wind and solar power plants has also been necessitated by slower growth in demand for electricity and the government now plans to come up with an energy auction before allowing investments in renewable energy.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority says plans are underway to undertake a fresh revision of the country’s energy demand and supply which will trigger reviews.