Energy Storage To Enable Continued Growth Of Renewables In Kenya
According to the Kenyan Government’s power development plans, the next decade will see many new solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power plants added to the national grid. This new capacity would support in supplying the country’s growing electricity demand, resulting from continued economic growth and broadening electrification targeted under Vision 2030.
The growth of these renewable technologies is expected to deliver considerable benefits to the power sector in the form of lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower baseload utilization of thermal power plants and reduced dependency on drought susceptible hydropower.
Despite these benefits, the high degree of intermittency of solar PV and wind does pose unique challenges in maintaining a stable and secure power system. To ensure power supply continuously matches power demand, highly flexible power plants are needed to rapidly offset the varying output from solar PV and wind.
The country currently relies heavily on hydropower to provide this flexibility. However, due to aging equipment and increasing climate change-related drought susceptibility, questions are being asked whether hydropower plants can alone meet the country’s flexibility needs, or whether they are indeed best positioned to do so.
Despite the large amount of geothermal capacity currently installed, these plants are unlikely to play a major role in balancing the growing level of intermittent renewable generation. This is due to the use of inflexible, single-flash geothermal technology, which prevents the rapid variation in power output needed to effectively balance renewable intermittency.