A failure of the national power grid today has left 2 million people in Kenya without electricity. Kenya Power, the majority government owned operator of the country’s power system, said that the failure was a result of “tripped” transmission lines between Nairobi and the Olkaria geothermal load center. The company is attempting to supply electricity from Uganda while systems are repaired.
The Kenya Electricity Generating Co.–known as KenGen–supplies 80% of the electricity in Kenya, almost all of it from renewable resources. KenGen capacity is 68% renewable, 85% percent of which comes from hydroelectric plants. A report from the US Department of Energy shows (pdf) that American energy capacity is only 13% renewable, and worldwide capacity is only 22% renewable.
As a result, the power failure may increase Kenya’s carbon emissions, assuming powerless Kenyans fill up their gas-powered generators to get the lights back on.