Kenya’s total installed large hydropower capacity is 743 MW. Small hydro potential is estimated at 3,000MW, of which it is estimated that less than 30MW have been exploited and only 15MW supply the grid.
High installation costs averaging US$ 2,500 per KW, inadequate hydrological data, effects of climate change, and a limited local capacity to manufacture small hydro power components have combined to impede exploitation of small-scale hydro-electricity.
To mitigate these challenges, the Government is carrying out phased feasibility studies to establish the capacities of potential hydro power sites across the country.
Kenya’s Least Cost Power Development Plan has identified a number of sites where hydro power could be developed effectively. Although the sites have not been considered economical in the past, recent oil price increases now make them attractive for investment. The best among the undeveloped hydropower sites are:
- Mutonga on the Tana River with an expected capacity of 60 MW and an annual average electricity generation of 336 GWh. The estimated cost of construction is US$ 270 million.
- Downstream of the Mutonga site is the Lower Grand Falls with a capacity of 140 MW and annual average electricity generation of 715 GWh.