Hydro Power in Kenya
Number of installed MegaWatts
The Government is carrying out phased feasibility studies to establish the capacities of potential hydro power sites across the country. The Least Cost Power Development Plan has identified a number of sites where hydro power could be developed effectively.
- Installed MegaWatts
Total Installed Megawatts: 820MW
Large Hydro Power Plants
|Project||Commission Date||Total installed capacity||Max dam height||Max operating levels||Min operating levels||Max storage level||Area covered||Other info|
|1||Masinga HPP||1981||40 MW||60m||1,056.5 m||1,031 m||1,560 mill. m³||116.4 km²||Useful vol.: 1,350 million m³|
|2||Kamburu||1976||94MW||52m||1,006.5 m||990 m||154 million m³||14.3 km²||Useful vol. 125 million m³). The reservoir operation follows the power generation needs|
|3||Gitaru||1978||225 MW||30.5 m||924.5 m||919.0 m||22 million m³||18.6 km²||Useful vol. 10.5 million m³. The highest peak was recorded in 2002 when the output was 222MW|
|4||Kindaruma||1968||72MW||28.7 m||780.5 m||776.8 m||7 million m³.||Kindaruma Dam is located 5 km downstream of the Gitaru reservoir and is the oldest hydropower plant.|
|5||Kiambere||1988||164 MW||110 m||700 m||665 m||585 million m³||Useful vol. 477 million m³. The reservoir operation mainly follows the power generation needs.|
|6||Turkwel||1991||106 MW||153 m||1,150 m||1,098 m||1,645 billion m³||66.1 km²||Tallest dam in Kenya and is located in the Turkwel River in West Pokot County. Useful vol.: 1,531 billion m³|
|7||Sondu Miriu HPP||2008||60 MW||Situated on the Sondu River. Relies on the flow of the river. The water intake passes a 6.2 km headrace tunnel to the Nyakach escarpment|
|8||Sang’oro HPP||2012||20 MW||Comprises of two turbines. The plant provides annual energy of at least 53 GWh per year and a minimum available capacity of 12 MW (low hydrology).|
Planned large hydropower schemes
Electricity generation by hydropower power is strongly affected by the prevailing hydrology. However, the advantage that they provide power at low operating costs. Large schemes with storage facilities are able to react very fast to variations in electricity demand caused by short ramp-up times and are thus very valuable for the provision of peak load capacity at low costs. In the long-term, there are several plans of developing large hydrological schemes, the majority of the projects are planned to be constructed as multipurpose scheme
Potential large hydropower projects
|Name||Capacity (MW)||Catchment area|
|High Grand Falls Stage 1||500||Tana|
|High Grand Falls Stage 2||200||Tana|
|Nandi Forest||50||Lake Victoria North|
|Hemsted Bridge||60||Lake Victoria North|
|Nzoia I||16||Lake Victoria North|
|Nzoia II||25||Lake Victoria North|
|Magwagwa||120||Lake Victoria South|
|Upgrade of Gogo Falls||+58||Lake Victoria South|
Small Hydro Power Plants
- In 2016, the small hydro plants contributed 14.5 MW to the national grid.
- The energy policy of 2004 defines small hydropower (SHP) as run-of-river power plants with installed capacities below 10 MW.
- These are further broken down into small, micro or pico hydropower.
- It is estimated that at least 3,000 MW of potential SHP capacity exists in Kenya. However, only approximately 32 MW is currently installed, representing 5 per cent of the total installed hydropower capacity in the country.
- Existing SHP plants have varying ownership structures including private, community or public ownership models.
|Plant name||Owner /operator||Commission
|Sosiani HPP (Selby Falls)||KenGen||1952||0.40|
|Gikira||Power Technology Solutions||2015||0.51|
|James Finlay (K) Ltd. HPP||James Finlay Tea company||1934-1999||2.21|
|Brooke Bond HPP||Unilever Tea Company||0.63|
|Savani HPP||Eastern Produce||1927||0.10|
|Tenwek HPP||Tenwek Missionary Hospital||1987/2014||0.32|
Number of installed MegaWatts
Some Small Hydros
|Mesco Power Station, 0.43MW|
|The station was commissioned in 1930’s, with an installed capacity of 0.38mw. The station draws water, for generation from Maragua River.|
|Ndula Power Station, 2 MW|
|The machines were commissioned in 1924, with an installed capacity of 2.0mw. The station draws water, for generation Thika River.|
|Gogo Power Station, 2MW|
|The station was commission in 1957 with the main reason being to supply power to the South Nyanza Mine at Macalder Mine .Findings of a feasibility study carried in 2002 indicate that the station has a maximum potential of up to 60MW peak operation.|
|Sosiani Power Station, 0.4 MW:|
|The station was commissioned in 1955. A small dam constructed on river Sosiani allows diversion of water to the plant. The total head to the Pelton Wheel Turbines is 135ft (41M).|
|Sagana Falls Power Station, 1.5MW|
|The machines were commissioned in 1956, with an installed capacity of 1.5 mw. The station draws water, for generation from Sagana River.|
|Wanjii Power Station, 7.4 MW|
|The station was commissioned between 1952 and 1954, with an installed capacity of 7.4 MW. The station draws water, for generation, from Mathioya and Maragua.|
Planned small hydropower schemes
- There is a large pipeline of small hydropower projects promoted under the Feed in Tarrif FiT scheme. Feasibility studies of twenty-one projects comprising a total capacity of 89 MW are already approved.
- Power Purchase Agreement negotiations of 13 of these projects with a total capacity of 41 MW are completed successfully.
- 7 projects with a total capacity of 24 MW are under construction and 1 project is already completed.
- Furthermore, feasibility studies of additional 11 small hydropower projects comprising a total capacity of 76 MW are on-going.
- The following table provides a brief overview of the various small hydropower plant projects.
|River||Nearest urban centre|
|Unilever Tea Kenya Ltd.||3||Kerenge, Tagabi, Jamji||Kericho|
|GenPro-Teremi Falls||5||Teremi Falls||Mt. Elgon|
|KTDA Ltd, North Mathi-oya- Metumi||6||North Mathioya||North Mu-ranga|
|KTDA Ltd, Lower Nyamindi||2||Nyamindi||Nyamindi|
|KTDA Ltd, Iraru||2||Iraru||Iraru|
|KTDA Ltd, South Maara||2||Mara||South Mara|
|KTDA Ltd, Nyambunde||2||Nyambunde||Nyambunde|
|KTDA Ltd, Lower Nyamindi||2||Lower Nyamindi||Nyamindi|
|KTDA Ltd, Kipsonoi-Settet||4||Kipsonoi||Kipsonoi|
|Tindinyo Falls Resort||2||Yala||Tindinyo|
|Kleen Energy Limited||6||Rupingazi||Embu|
|Mt Kenya Community Based Organisation||1||Kathita River||Meru|
|Hydel||15||Kagumoine, Kairo, Njega||Embu, Kirinyaga|
|KTDA Chemosit and Kiptiget||3.3||Chemosit, Kiptiget||Kericho|
|River||Nearest urban centre|
|Global Sustainable||11||Yala, Kaptis Kai-mosi||Kaimosi|
|KTDA Ltd. – Itare river||1.3||Itare||Kabianga|
|Que Energy/ western hydro||10||Webuye Falls||Webuye|
|Global Sustainable Ltd||5||Nzoia||Bungoma|
|Everest Contractors Ltd||16||Sagana||Mutundu|
|Everest Contractors Ltd||10||Sagana||Thanga Thini|
|Power Technologies||10||Tana||Nuhito, Muku-rueni|
|KTDA River Rupangizi||2.5|
|Everest Contractors Ltd||12||Gura||Othaya|
|Karuga Gitugi Electrifica-tion Project||2||South Mathioya||Gitugi, Mu-ranga|
|Kirigori Electrification Project||3||South Mathioya||Gitugi, Mu-ranga|
|VSHydro Kenya Ltd||5||River Chania||Nyeri|
|VSHydro Kenya Ltd||5||River Nithi||Nithi|
|Frozen Lemon Energy Ltd||2.6||River unywa, Mt Elgon||Bungoma|
Feed in Tariff: The Feed in Tariff policy provides for stepped fixed tariffs for electrical energy supplied in bulk to the grid operator at the interconnection point.
The tariffs shall apply for 20 years from the date of the first commissioning of the small hydro power plant. The small hydros 0.5 MW is offered a tarrif of 0.105 US $ /kWh and 0.0825 US $ /kWh for 10 MW. This tariff also applies for projects with great than 10 MW and maximum cumulative capacity of 100MW.
All hydro power plant are requires to meet the standards stipulated by Kenya Bureau of Standards. Some standards that relate electrical distribution and transmission of hydropower include;
KS 1878-1:2010: Electrical power transmission and distribution – Guidelines for the provision of electrical distribution networks in residential areas – Part 1: Planning and design of distribution systems.
KS 1859-3:2010: Electrical power transmission and distribution- High-voltage operating regulations – Part 3: Model regulations-Recommended model regulations relating to power systems for operating, access control and
KS 1068-5:2013: Electricity metering
KS 1068-4:2013: Electricity metering Part 4: code of practice for electricity metering
KS 1068-2:2013: Electricity Metering Part 2: Glossary of terms and overview of roles and responsibilities
KS 1917:2010: Electric power transmission and distribution – Energized power lines – Maintenance methods.
KEBS and Stakeholders are developing Small hydro standards for Kenya.
- Small hydro Scoping Study Kenya : The objective of this scoping report is to provide the basis for understanding what the potential for hydro power development is in the proximity of tea factories, the interest expressed by the tea companies, present electrical practices, potential for replication, potential for rural electrification, CO2 emission reduction and the existing know how and regulatory framework are for such projects to evolve.
- Policy and regulatory framework conditions for small hydro power in Sub-Saharan Africa Discussion paper – June 2010: outlines the potential of Micro Hydro Power (MHP) and its current positioning in terms of existing and planned MHP projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a second step, the main barriers for MHP sector development are briefly described and wherever possible underlined with some examples from the field. For each main barrier, several potential and existing mitigating strategies are outlined and good practices are identified. The report concludes with some preliminary recommendations of how the gap between existing top-down regulation and regulatory needs of MHP projects can be overcome in order to deploy MHP in Sub-Saharan Africa on a larger scale.
- Kenya National Hydropower Atlas: The objective of this project is to develop and established a national database and information retrieval system for the national hydropower development and undertake detailed feasibility studies for ten sites, which will have been selected using the instruments of the atlas.