Economic growth needs to be fuelled by power and geothermal provides power at a cost competitive price that helps decrease the cost of electricity to businesses and the general public.

In the celebrations for the commissioning of the Olkaria I unit 4 and 5 extensions, the Presidents of Kenya and Rwanda stressed the important role the Olkaria geothermal power plant plays. Economic growth needs to be fuelled by power and geothermal provides power at a cost competitive price that helps decrease the cost of electricity to businesses and the general public.

There is a dire need to expand the electricity supply in order to cater the needs of local manufacturers, regular customers and other general services. This even goes beyond the frontiers of one single country. As pointed out by a local news source, “last year, Rwanda sealed a power importation deal with Kenya, which will see the former import 30 megawatts of electricity from Kenya, and help ease the electricity woes of local manufacturers. The agreement was part of a regional initiative to improve the power grid in the Northern Corridor states of Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. Transmission grids in Kenya and Uganda will need to be improved to facilitate the initial power sale of 30 megawatts by Kenya to Rwanda to be wheeled through Uganda by July 2015. A memorandum of understanding that Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda entered into in 2013 allows the trio to share cheaper generation capacity as more power becomes available. Rwanda also plans to import 400 megawatts from Ethiopia in the near future.”

Great advances have been done to develop renewable and sustainable energy in East Africa yet the demand for electricity has to be met. Faster and more intensive investment should follow in order to call this a proper triumph.