The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is gradually moving their plants from KPLC and instead using electricity from their small hydro power generators. Their aim is to save on energy bills, which have been one of their major expenses in the factories.
In cases where they generate more, they will sell the excess power to Kenya Power Company Limited (KPLC).
Generally, each tea factory uses about 0.5 megawatts to run the machines and processes. This makes all the KTDA factories in Kenya to spend up to 2.5 billion shillings annually on the electrical bills only; with each individual factory using up to 30 – 65 million shillings.
By producing their own electricity, the tea factories operating costs will reduce drastically – and this means better returns for tea farmers. So far, there are 7 KTDA factories that have moved away from KPLC, while five more are set to migrate by the end of the year.
KTDA factories using their own private electricity from micro hydropower stations
- Imenti Tea Factory connected to Imenti small hydro power station
- Mataara tea factory connected to Chania small hydro power station (SHP)
- Ngere plants connected to Chania small hydro power station
- Gathuthi tea factory connected to Gura small hydro power station
- Gitugi tea factory connected to Gura Small hydro power station
- Iriaini tea factory connected to Gura Small hydro power station
- Chinga tea factory connected to Gura Small hydro power station
- Iraru tea factory connected to Gura Small hydro power station
The following small hydro power stations are in the process and expected to produce the specified power.
- South Mara small hydro power station – 2.2 MW
- Lower Nyamindi small hydro power station 1.8MW
- North Mathioya small hydro power station 5.6MW
- Nyambunde small hydro power station 2MW
- Iraru small hydro power station 1.5MW
All the stations will be supplying the power to various Kenya Tea Development Agency factories. Clusters (Regional Power Companies) in various geographical areas have been formed with an aim of developing hydro power stations. This will be the suppliers of the power in the region with the surplus being sold to the Kenya Power Company.
So far, KTDA has invested Ksh 4.8 billion towards the project. In addition, to saving on electricity bills and operating costs, the KTDA micro-hydro generators help create more employment opportunities, provide alternative renewable energy and revenue for the tea farmers.
This move is also in line with Kenya’s government aim to achieve Vision 2030 and Millennium Development Goals to ensure environmental sustainability. The internal power generations through the small hydro power stations will reduce the electricity bills in the factories by 50%.
The 10 stations are expected to produce about 22-23 Megawatts (MW). In addition, to establishing the power stations, all KTDA factories are expected to plant at least 100,000 indigenous trees annually, This will ensure sufficient rains to provide enough water for the hydro power stations and also maintain the environment.