Kenya slashes 2030 power production targets as usage still low-media

NAIROBI, June 20 (Reuters) - Kenya has cut its target for expanding its electricity output by 2030 by nearly 30% as demand is growing more slowly than expected, its energy minister was quoted as saying.

The country now plans to add 7,200 MW of installed electricity capacity to its grid by 2030, down from an original target of 10,000 MW, Energy Minister Charles Keter was quoted as saying by local media on Thursday.

The government estimated in 2018 that demand for electricity will grow by 9% a year until 2021 and then ease back to 7% annually.

Kenya had installed generation capacity of 2,712 MW as at end 2018.

“It is not necessary to have in our records these targets that we cannot achieve so we have revised it down to 7,200 megawatts and this will be achieved through various innovative approaches to power generation,” Keter told reporters, according to the Business Daily newspaper.

The Energy Ministry said in December that 75 percent of Kenya’s population had access to electricity, up from 32 percent in 2014.

“We need to focus on demand growth, developing industrial parks to spur the economy. Currently, of the about 6.7 million power consumers that we have, more than 6 million are domestic whose use of power is low at about 10 units per month,” Keter was quoted as saying by the Standard newspaper on Thursday.

The Energy Ministry said in December that it aims to achieve universal access by 2022, connecting another 5 million customers to the grid and that this would cost about $2.75 billion from both public and private financing.

Geothermal power is Kenya’s second largest source of electricity, after hydroelectric power. (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Susan Fenton)