Cause of Kenya’s longest power outage in memory remains unclear as grid suppliers exchange blame

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The longest Nationwide power output A mystery remains in the memory of Kenyans on Sunday as the state-owned power company blamed the failure of Africa’s largest wind farm, shifting the blame to the power grid instead.

Power was restored to more than 50 million people in Kenya, including the capital, Nairobi, about 24 hours after widespread blackouts late Friday night. It was an embarrassment for the East African economic hub that has tried to promote itself as a technology hub on the continent but remains challenged by alleged mismanagement and poor infrastructure.

Hundreds of people were stranded in darkness for hours at Kenya’s main international airport in Nairobi, prompting a rare public apology from a government minister in a country where tourism is a key part of the economy. “This situation will not happen again,” said Transport Minister Kipchumba Murkomen.

The head of the Kenya Airports Authority was sacked after a generator at the main international terminal failed to start.

Shortly before midnight on Saturday, Kenya Power gave its first detailed explanation of the outage, blaming a loss of electricity production from Africa’s largest wind farm, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Plant, for an imbalance that “knocked out all other main generation units and led to a complete blackout on the grid.” conducted.”

However, Lake Turkana Wind Power in a statement denied it was responsible. Instead, it said it was “forced to go offline by an overvoltage situation in the national grid system that, to avoid extreme damage, shuts down the wind power plant automatically.” The plant produced about 15% of the national output at that time.

Such an outage should be immediately compensated by other power generators in the system, the company said, but continued outages on the national grid are preventing the wind farm from being brought back online.

Kenya Power said it could not even resort to importing power from neighboring Uganda, a relatively quick option that was unavailable for some reason.

“We are jointly working to restore Uganda interconnection to enhance our grid restoration efforts,” it said.

President William Ruto, whose own office told The Associated Press on Saturday that Power Kenya had restored power to “critical areas” of the capital despite generators running for hours, has not commented publicly on the crisis. Instead, he again criticized the opposition’s call Anti-government protests On the rising cost of living, they call it a threat to investors.

“Shame of a nation,” was the headline in one of Kenya’s leading newspapers, the Sunday Nation. It said the outages were costing businesses millions of dollars and leaving some major hospitals to run on generators.

Kenya gets almost all of its electricity from renewable sources, a fact the government will promote when it hosts the Africa Climate Summit early next month.



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