The Ministry of Energy functions as detailed in the Executive Order No. 1/2016 of May 2016 on the organisation of the Government of the Republic of Kenya are: -
The Statement Department of Energy is split into the State department Energy and State Department of Renewable Energy.
The energy sector in Kenya is largely dominated by petroleum and electricity, with wood fuel providing the basic energy needs of the rural communities, urban poor, and the informal sector. An analysis of the national energy shows heavy dependency on wood fuel and other biomass that account for 68% of the total energy consumption (petroleum 22%, electricity 9%, others account for 1%). Electricity access in Kenya is low despite the government’s ambitious target to increase electricity connectivity from the current 15% to at least 65% by the year 2022.
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The challenges facing the electricity supply sector are mainly inadequate generation capacity arising out of insufficient investment in power generation and its dependence on hydro for 50% of the existing capacity. The sector has had to resort to expensive quick fixes like Medium Speed Diesel (MSD) plants running on Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) and High-Speed Diesel plants running on Automotive Gas Oil (AGO). Electricity is therefore expensive as these plants currently contribute to nearly 40% of the effective capacity with cost of energy generated from these plants ranging from US$ cents 26 – 36 per unit. Their contribution increases during dry hydrology, making electricity even more expensive.
The current effective power generation capacity in the country is 1664 MW and is projected to grow to 2,600-3600 MW by 2020. This is based on:
The make up this capacity in MW is hydro 770, geothermal 241, thermal 622, co-generation 26, and wind 5.1. The monitored demand which is considered suppressed largely due to transmission and distribution system weaknesses, stands at about 1,357 MW while the unsuppressed demand is estimated as 1700 MW, thus depicting a shortfall of 536 MW, after providing for a 30% reserve margin recommended by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC). This demand-supply imbalance has hitherto contributed to regular power rationing, particularly during dry seasons.
As a country, we set out to become a middle-income economy by the year 2030 under our vision 2030. This means that we need to have adequate energy to power our economy into a middle-income power house. However, we are still heavily reliant on hydroelectric power which is susceptible to poor rains. The government issued a statement indicating that Masinga Dam (40 MW) would be shut down in early March 2018 if the water levels did not improve. As a country, we generate about 40% of our power via hydro dams. A USAID report done in 2015 indicated that by the year 2020, our energy demands will exceed 2,600 MW while our current maximum output is 2,300 MW. The government through the ministry of Energy has a 5,000 plus megawatt agenda to ensure that we generate surplus power, but this remains a pipe dream.
The national geothermal potential is estimated at between 7,000 and 10,000 MW.
Cost of energy is also highly prohibitive to investment with a kilowatt hour costing 14 US cents compared with Ethiopia at 3 US cents per kilowatt hour. It costs a manufacturer four times more to do business in Kenya.
In conclusion, our biggest problem as a country is corruption, the plunder of our hard-earned taxes by a few elites within the government. We must strive to foster integrity and decency to move this country to the next level and have standards with all the activities that we engage ourselves in. We must reject mediocre governance and move to a system of accountability and responsibility. Coordination between the national government and the devolved units needs to be streamlined to avoid duplication of roles and enhance efficient service delivery to citizens.
Shadow Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Energy.
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