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Access to electricity in Kenya remains relatively limited. Only half the population has access to it, at a cost much higher than in other African economies. On top of this there is the instability of the network, with frequent blackouts, which raises questions about large scale reliance on hydroelectric energy production.
This being so, diversification of sources of electricity has become a real priority issue for Kenya. Aware of its huge geothermal potential, the country has committed in its 2030 vision to increasing its electricity production capacity through the Menengai geothermal development project, which has US $502.9 million in funding from the Bank. With a capacity of 400 MW, it will provide reliable, clean and affordable electricity to thousands of households and industries.
Although it needs heavy investment, geothermal is competitive with other renewable energy sources. With a very low carbon footprint, it enables those countries that have it to considerably reduce the effects of climate change.
It was in this context that in 2011, the Kenyan Government asked the Bank for technical and financial support for this project.
For Anita Kariuki, the imminent arrival of electricity will considerably change her life and the lives of the other women in the village. “Having electricity at home soon is going to make our lives easier. It will be easier for us to cook and have light in the house. I’m really looking forward to it, because it will help me manage household tasks better. The children will no longer have to sleep late. And when I wake up in the morning, I’ll be able to quickly make breakfast and get them off to school on time.
Anita Kariuiki, 52, Nakuru District