Kenya has shut down a 14MW power generation unit at its Masinga Dam, according to Reuters.

The unit was shut down due to a long dry spell that has decreased water levels.

The closing of the unit will free up water for a second downstream unit and also will lessen the impact of the closure on the country’s power grid.

“Masinga Dam water levels have been declining steadily due to poor hydrology for the past two years from 1,956.5m in May 2007 to 1,035.5m now,” a KenGen operator said. ”The station is expected to be up and running before the end of the year, depending on the performance of the short rains.”

The ‘short’ rain season in Kenya starts in October.

Businesses in east Africa’s biggest economy say frequent power blackouts increase the cost of doing business.

Kenyan policy makers have been looking for geothermal sources of power to maintain the electricity demand, which expands by about 8% annually, on the back of a growing economy and population.

Kenya has a peak power demand of 1,050MW against an installed capacity of 1,100MW that consists of emergency reserves.