Kenya has done really well in terms of increasing the share of renewable energy in its electricity generation mix. According to the latest Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Economic Survey, Kenya’s total installed electricity generation capacity will increase by 5.4% to 2,990 MW in 2021. Total effective power increased by 5.6% to 2,858 MW in the same period. The KNBS report defines effective capacity as the maximum electrical output at which a power plant is expected to achieve given current operating constraints. Total electricity generation rose 7.0% to 12,414 GWh in 2021, and the good news is that 89.6% of that electricity was generated from renewable sources.
Kenya’s renewable energy sector is powered by a good mix of geothermal, wind, hydro and solar power. Kenya’s Great Rift Valley has an estimated geothermal potential of 10,000 MW. This reliable clean energy potential puts Kenya in a great position to achieve 100% renewable energy very quickly. As the economy grows, geothermal electricity can be a key anchor. We hope to see some growth in the utility-scale solar space as well. The solar sector still only contributes 1% of the total generation mix.
Kenya’s progress has attracted interest from local and international players who are looking to use this renewable energy-dominated grid to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. Other stakeholders are keenly exploring the prospects of a green hydrogen economy in Kenya. Some of the areas identified have a strong focus on using geothermal resources to power electrolysers to produce green ammonia for local fertilizer production. Local production of fertilizers will be a key boost to the Kenyan economy with widespread impacts on job creation and reduced import costs through the import substation.
With such strong interest from the private sector, it is always good to see government buy-in to support this development. Elections will be held in Kenya next month on the 9thThursday august A good sign of continued government support can be seen in the fact that the pioneers have included acceleration of the growth of renewables, electric mobility, utility batteries and green hydrogen in their election manifestos in the upcoming elections.
Let’s take a look at the two leading players:
Azimio La Umoja Coalition:
The presidential candidate is HE Raila A. Odinga, EGH, who was the Prime Minister of Kenya from 2008 to 2013. His classmate, who could make history as the first female Vice President of Kenya, is Hon. Martha Wangari Karua. Honzo Martha Karua previously held ministerial posts as Minister of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs as well as Minister of Water Resources Management and Development.
In the energy section of the Azimio La Umoja coalition manifesto, section 2.3.4 Energy says:
“Our government will recognize access to clean, affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources as a prerequisite for human and economic development. Access to energy is a critical factor in unlocking potential and transforming lives by accelerating the creation of businesses and employment opportunities.
Opportunities identified by Azimio La Umoja include:
- An opportunity to meet the growing demand for energy for households and industry
- Opportunities to promote and develop new and renewable energy sources as alternative energy sources
- Opportunities to exploit our geothermal resource reserves
- An opportunity to reduce and stabilize energy costs
- An opportunity to reduce system and commercial network losses currently reaching 18% by ensuring efficient service delivery in generation, storage, transmission, distribution and supply of energy by all players in the energy sector.
The Azimio La Umoja coalition commits to:
- Work to reduce the cost of electricity by introducing political, institutional, legal and regulatory reforms to increase efficiency and reduce corruption
- Invest in the production of electricity for industrial and domestic use at an affordable price
- Upgrade and expand current energy infrastructure to increase transmission and distribution capacity while reducing grid losses, currently at 18%.
- Expand the rural electrification program
- Increase investment in renewable energy
- Promote energy efficiency and energy conservation
- Start investing in green hydrogen for domestic and export use
Regarding Kenya’s oil industry, the Azimio La Umoja coalition wants:
- Review taxes and levies on petroleum products to make petroleum and related commodities affordable
- Build strategic oil and gas reserves to mitigate oil and gas supply disruptions and improve our emergency preparedness through a strong oil and gas reserve policy
- Increased production of oil and natural gas on land and at sea
- Invest in and improve efficient refining and safe transportation and storage of fuel products
- Development of a national “just energy transition” plan that addresses the development, energy and economic needs of Kenyans in an equitable and inclusive manner
- Encourage citizens to use alternative energy sources for transport and home use, including electric cars and solar energy
Kenya Kwanza Coalition
HE William Ruto, Deputy President, Republic of Kenya is the UDA-Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate. Rigathi Gachagua, the current Member of Parliament for Mathira Constituency, is the alliance’s vice-chairman candidate. The manifesto of the Kenya Kwanza Coalition in the section of the document relating to electricity, Kenya Kwanza notes that:
“Electricity is a vital economic and social service essential to production, essential services such as health and safety and the quality of life of citizens. While generation capacity has increased greatly in recent years, our electricity is expensive and unreliable. It shouldn’t be because we are blessed with substantial geothermal, solar, wind and hydro resources that can provide cheap, environmentally friendly energy. One of the key contributors to both price and quality of power is the aging transmission and distribution grid. The investment needed to modernize the network is significant, especially in the country’s difficult financial situation, but it is necessary. Cheap clean energy can represent a strong value for attracting energy-intensive manufacturing for the global market in Kenya.”
Kwanza Kenya also notes that Kenya should use leverage “A disruptive technological landscape that heralds a transformation of the electricity industry perhaps on the same scale as the mobile phone revolution disrupted landline telephony”. This includes “the rapidly falling cost of renewable energy, of which, as noted, Kenya has plenty. The cost of public-scale electricity storage is also falling sharply, helping to overcome the limitations of alternating between solar and wind power. On the consumer side, standalone solar and microgrids are increasingly cost-effective alternatives to grid power for residential and even commercial consumers. Transportation will be a large consumer of electricity as electric vehicles replace fossil fuel vehicles.
Kenya Kwanza pledges to:
Turn around Kenya Power. “We will decouple government development initiatives and let Kenya Power operate on commercial principles. A policy, regulatory and financial framework for off-grid community development projects (mini- and micro-grids) will be established. Improve reliability, reduce electricity costs.”
Kenya Kwanza proposes a 3-point plan to reduce energy costs, namely:
- Mobilize the resources needed to modernize the transmission and distribution network
- Accelerate the development of geothermal resources
- Develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facility in Mombasa with a view to phasing out heavy fuel oil (HFO) from the power generation portfolio. This will also contribute to meeting Kenya’s emission reduction commitments
When it comes to e-mobility, Kenya’s Kwanza government promises:
- Establish electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in all urban areas and along highways
- Provide financial and tax incentives for public service vehicles and commercial carriers to switch to electric vehicles
- Leverage the financial support that will be provided to the boda boda sector through the Hustler Fund to develop the emerging electric vehicle (EV) and motorcycle assembly industry
Kenya Kwanza notes that “Kenya is well equipped with cheap renewable energy sources. Accelerating the transition to electric vehicles is a win-win proposition in terms of contributing to Kenyans’ commitment to lower emissions, cheaper transportation and leveraging the large local and regional motorcycle market (~500,000 units per year) to build an electric vehicle industry.”
- Create incentives for the adoption of electric mass transit systems in all cities and towns.
It is really good to see that the expansion of Kenya’s vast renewable energy resources such as geothermal energy, along with the increasing penetration of variable renewables such as wind and solar, along with utility-scale battery storage to address intermittency issues, are now included in the election program. political parties. Kenya has the potential to become a leader in the electric mobility industry on the continent and it is encouraging to note that even political parties recognize this. The potential of a green hydrogen economy is now also part of the conversation.
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