State draws roadmap for cleaner power production

Thursday, August 11th, 2022 05:00 | By
Energy Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma.

The Ministry of Energy targets to generate 100,000MW (100GW) of electricity by 2040 despite failing to instal 5,538MW by 2017 as set out in Vision 2030.

In the Kenya Energy Sector Roadmap 2040 paper that Kenya will use its geographic advantage and expansive wealth of clean energy to locate and entice high-potential investors to accomplish that target.
“For Kenya to compete with middle-income nations and to become a leader in emerging green energy technology, it must raise its generation capacity to 100 GW by 2040. This would present the nation with the chance to establish itself as a global leader in green energy,” the paper adds.

The ministry, however, failed to show how demand will be created given that Kenya has one of the most expensive power tariffs in the world.

Experts say demand is an elusive concept, with economic theories premised on the fact that supply generates demand, however, others think the opposite is true.

Renewable sources
Kenya currently has 2.4 GW of installed capacity, which only accounts for about 2 per cent of its potential, particularly in terms of the production of electricity from renewable sources. During that time Kenya has seen excess power idling for most of the times showing demand for electricity is a dicy topic in the developing world.

Further, current electricity production is only enough to run less than five major steel factories showing how little power the country is producing even as corrupt private sector players collude with government officials to sell expensive energy.

However, the paper says Kenya must create a portfolio of bankable energy projects with a total value of $100 billion if it hopes to meet its 100GW target by 2040.

Kenya is currently between a rock and a hard place as the country’s debt portfolio steadily increases threatening to reach Sh9 trillion amid planned mega projects.

The war between Russia and Ukraine adds another urgent dimension to the energy equation to underscore the centrality of energy security, says the minstry. Since the war, Africa, as the rest of the world, has been faced with sustained energy pressure that is translating into various insecurities - food insecurity, fuel insecurity, social economic instability and so forth.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said the message is clear that the government must create a path of sustainable energy security.

“This means moving away from dependence in relation to factors that drive the health of a nation and to this end, we are exploring the possibility of new frontiers - including hydrogen in our clean energy mix as affirmed by President Uhuru Kenyatta, during COP26,” she said.

The CS said plans to pilot green hydrogen projects are underway, to assess the feasibility of large-scale green hydrogen production in Kenya.

To support the adoption of hydrogen as a source of power, a national green hydrogen working group, comprising stakeholders from the public and private sectors, has been set up to define a roadmap on the future of green hydrogen in Kenya, and to enact the requisite policies and regulations to support its adoption.

Significant impact
The government is also working closely with the World Bank and the sector to develop guidelines that will shepherd the implementation of enterprise storage to store power which will have a significant impact on the reliability and availability of power, and ultimately, on cost of power.

In addition to reducing emissions and providing energy security, the production and use of green hydrogen would provide job opportunities for local populations.

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