Kenya Power has committed a budget of Kshs. 700 million to develop hybrid power generation systems to enhance power supply reliability and reduce dependence on thermal energy for off-grid areas. The project covers 23 mini-grids that have been set aside for hybridisation with renewable energy mainly using solar and to some extent wind.
The commitment to decentralize solar and wind hybrid power stations offers new opportunities towards providing safe, secure and reliable electricity for economic and social development in areas not served by the national grid, said Kenya Power General manager, Infrastructure Development and Network Management, Eng. David Mwaniki.
Speaking during the 26th Annual International Engineers Conference held in Mombasa, Eng. Mwaniki said that the planned hybridisation of off-grid stations will improve access to electricity, especially in rural areas.
“The planned hybridisation of off-grid stations will expand access to electricity to Kenyans and improve the energy mix,” Eng. Mwaniki said. Adding that: “Providing access to sufficient and reliable electricity will help sustain the productive and income-generating activities of local communities in order to spur growth, create jobs and alleviate poverty in rural areas.”
There are currently 27 mini-grids that serve electricity to the off-grid areas using mainly diesel-powered generators. Kenya Power is committed to enhancing the network coverage and to improve the reliability of power supply to customers, especially as the country embarks on implementing the Big Four Agenda.
“Energy is an enabler to the realisation of economic development and as Kenya Power, our focus is to ensure power supply of reliable and maintain a robust network. The Company’s role is to provide quality and reliable power to support manufacturing, healthcare, food security and housing sectors under the Big Four Agenda,” Eng. Mwaniki highlighted.
Successful implementation of programmes under this development initiative will present prospects for business growth. Subsequently, Kenya Power has committed Kshs. 3 Billion in the 2019/2020 budget to uprate and rejuvenate the grid to increase reliability.
The hybridisation project aims to integrate modern, small-scale wind turbines and solar-powered mini-grids as a way of strengthening the electricity supply. The project has been financed by the French fund for development (AFD).
Kenya assigns importance to provide access to modern energy for all of its citizens and aims at achieving universal access by 2020 through increased use of renewable energy technologies in the form of mini-grids.