The largest share of Kenya’s electricity supply comes from geothermal energy followed by hydroelectric stations at dams along the upper Tana River, as well as the Turkwel Gorge Dam in the west. A petroleum-fired plant on the coast, geothermal facilities at Olkaria (near Nairobi), and electricity imported from Uganda make up the rest of the supply. Kenya’s installed capacity stood at 1,142 megawatts between 2001 and 2003. The state-owned Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), established in 1997 under the name of Kenya Power Company, handles the generation of electricity, while Kenya Power handles the electricity transmission and distribution system in the country. Shortfalls of electricity occur periodically, when drought reduces water flow. To become energy sufficient, Kenya aims to build a nuclear power plant by 2017.
Kenya has proven deposits of oil in Turkana and the commercial viability was just discovered. Tullow Oil estimates Kenya’s oil reserves to be around 10 billion barrels. Exploration is still continuing to determine if there are more reserves. Kenya currently imports all crude petroleum requirements. Kenya, east Africa’s largest economy, has no strategic reserves and relies solely on oil marketers’ 21-day oil reserves required under industry regulations. Petroleum accounts for 20% to 25% of the national import bill.
Published comments on Kenya’s Capital FM website by Liu Guangyuan, China’s ambassador to Kenya, at the time of President Kenyatta’s 2013 trip to Beijing, said, “Chinese investment in Kenya … reached $474 million, representing Kenya’s largest source of foreign direct investment, and … bilateral trade … reached $2.84 billion” in 2012. Kenyatta was “[a]ccompanied by 60 Kenyan business people [and hoped to] … gain support from China for a planned $2.5 billion railway from the southern Kenyan port of Mombasa to neighboring Uganda, as well as a nearly $1.8 billion dam”, according to a statement from the president’s office also at the time of the trip.
Base Titanium, a subsidiary of Base resources of Australia, shipped its first major consignment of minerals to China. About 25,000 tonnes of ilmenite was flagged off the Kenyan coastal town of Kilifi. The first shipment was expected to earn Kenya about Kshs15–20 billion in earnings. Recently the Chinese contracted railway project from Nairobi to Mombasa was suspended due to dispute over compensation for land acquisition.
In 2007, the Kenyan government unveiled Vision 2030, an economic development programme it hopes will put the country in the same league as the Asian Economic Tigers by the year 2030. In 2013, it launched a National Climate Change Action Plan, having acknowledged that omitting climate as a key development issue in Vision 2030 was an oversight. The 200-page Action Plan, developed with support from the Climate & Development Knowledge Network, sets out the Government of Kenya’s vision for a ‘low carbon climate resilient development pathway’. At the launch in March 2013, the Secretary of the Ministry of Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 emphasised that climate would be a central issue in the renewed Medium Term Plan that would be launched in the coming months. This would create a direct and robust delivery framework for the Action Plan and ensure climate change is treated as an economy-wide issue.
Kenya has proven oil deposits in Turkana County. President Mwai Kibaki announced on 26 March 2012 that Tullow Oil, an Anglo-Irish oil exploration firm, had struck oil but its commercial viability and subsequent production would take about three years to confirm.
Early in 2006 Chinese President Hu Jintao signed an oil exploration contract with Kenya, part of a series of deals designed to keep Africa’s natural resources flowing to China’s rapidly expanding economy.
The deal allowed for China’s state-controlled offshore oil and gas company, CNOOC, to prospect for oil in Kenya, which is just beginning to drill its first exploratory wells on the borders of Sudan and Somalia and in coastal waters. There are formal estimates of the possible reserves of oil discovered.