Kenya: Energy Resources
|Energy Consumption||0.21 Quadrillion Btu|
|2-letter ISO code||KE|
|3-letter ISO code||KEN|
|Numeric ISO code||404|
|UN Region||Eastern Africa|
|Energy Maps||3 view|
|Energy Organizations||7 view|
|Research Institutions||3 view|
|CIA World Factbook, Appendix D|
|Wind Potential||0||Area(km²) Class 3-7 Wind at 50m||129||1990||NREL|
|Coal Reserves||Unavailable||Million Short Tons||N/A||2008||EIA|
|Natural Gas Reserves||0||Cubic Meters (cu m)||159||2010||CIA World Factbook|
|Oil Reserves||0||Barrels (bbl)||165||2010||CIA World Factbook|
Energy Maps featuring Kenya
Policy and Regulatory Overview 
It is estimated that in Kenya 77% people do not have electricity connections.Urban electrification level: 51%Rural electrification level: 4% Many urban and rural poor are not reached by grid-based electrical power, nor is there adequate distribution of gas or other cooking and heating fuels.The national grid is operated as an integral network linked by a 220 kV and 132 kV transmission network. There is a limited length of 66 kV transmission lines.
The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) have approved funding for Kenya's investment plan to scale up and develop its renewable energy sources, which will enhance their energy security, increase electricity access, reduce supply costs and bring socioeconomic benefits to local communities.It is expected that the US$50 million grant will aid in catalyzing private sector financing, decrease market risks and absorb many of the high start-up costs associated with renewable energy. The plan, which obtained funding through CIF's ‘Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program in Low Income Countries’ (SREP), was developed to overcome the economic, financial and technical barriers that have hindered Kenya in exploiting its solar, geothermal and wind resources. Kenya has also made a number of institutional and policy reforms, which will also assist in catalyzing the market.With the guidance of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Kenya is preparing to construct a geothermal plant that will provide 400 MW of a potential 1650MW by 2018. The project is the first to be solely developed by Kenya's newly established Geothermal Development Company, which will be primarily responsible for developing Kenya's geothermal resources. The power produced will be fed directly into Kenya's national grid. The SREP funding is also expected to fund capacity building initiatives.As part of the country’s power development plan, a target of 300 MW of co-generation capacity by 2015 has been set, and as of 2011, 60 MW had been installed. In addition, a photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing facility was commissioned in 2011 in the country, producing PV modules ranging from 13 Wp to 125 Wp.
The Government intends to set up a Green Energy Facility to pool donor contributions, helping finance Government equity participation and loan contributions inorder to help firms and other institutions develop clean energy projects. The Facility will lend funds to viable projects at concessional rates. The facility will be established under the National Task Force on Accelerated Development of Green Energy whose mandate is to promote and fast-track the development of renewable energy projects.Hybrid Mini-grids The Hybrid Mini-grid Project proposes to increase the proportion of renewable energy (solar and wind) in existing and planned mini-grids to 30%. The Government has initiated incorporation of solar PV and wind systems in existing off-grid diesel power plants in arid and semi-arid areas to substitute part of the generation provided through fossil fuel. The proposed project would result in increased renewable energy in the system, as well as increased energy generation. The ‘Scaling-UP Renewable Energy Program’ funds would enhance the ongoing and planned hybrid projects. The private sector will be invited to participate in the hybrid projects under the Feed-in-tariffs inorder to complement Government efforts in the program.
Total installed electricity capacity (2010): 1,429 MWHydro-electric: 52.1%Conventional Thermal: 32.5%Geothermal: 13.2%Wind, Others: 2.2%Total primary energy supply (2009): 18,723 ktoeComb. Renew. and Waste: 76.0%Oil and Products: 16.5%Geothermal/solar/wind: 6.2%Hydro-electric: 1.0%Coal: 0.3%Electricity demand in the country is significantly rising mainly due to the accelerated productive investment and increasing population. Historically, energy demand is positively correlated with economic and population growth rates. Currently the electricity demand is 1,191 MW against an effective installed capacity of 1,429 MW under normal hydrology. This gives a reserve margin of 238 MW or 20% of demand. However during low hydrology, the reserve margin diminishes necessitating load shedding and procurement of expensive emergency power. The peak load is projected to grow to about 2,500MW by 2015 and 15,000 MW by 2030. To meet this demand, the projected installed capacity should increase gradually to 19,169 MW by 2030.A study conducted by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) on the economic impacts of climate change in Kenya (2009) found the country’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, both total and per capita, to be relatively low. However, Kenya’s GHG emissions are rising quickly and the energy sector emissions are estimated to have increased by as much as 50% over the last decade.Over 85% of the population rely on traditional fuels such as wood, charcoal, dung, and agricultural residues for cooking and heating.Firewood remains the predominant fuel for cooking. Nationally 68.3% of all households use firewood as their main sources of cooking fuel. Over 80% of households in the rural areas rely on firewood for cooking compared to 10 percent of urban households.Charcoal is the second most popular type of cooking fuel used by 13.3% of households.Kerosene is ranked the third predominant cooking fuel, but is the most common type of fuel for cooking among 44.6% of urban dwellers.
The Energy Regulatory Commission is mandated to: - Regulate all forms of energy,- Protect stakeholder interests,- Maintain a list of accredited energy auditors,- Ensure principles of fair competition are adhered to,- Provide information to the Minister of Energy when required,- Collect and maintain energy data and prepare a national energy plan.
There is some level of competition in electricity generation. KenGen generates over 70% of the country’s power output, and is in direct competition with six independent power producers, who between them produce about 30 percent of the country’s electric power. KPLC has monopoly in the distribution and transmission of electricity in the country.Despite the liberalization of the oil industry, there are only a few companies actively trading due to tariff and non-tariff barriers to entry.
In Kenya, it is estimated that between 10-30% of the primary energy input is wasted (IEEN, 2002).Significant opportunities exist for improving energy in all sectors, in particular, the industrial sector. Food, beverage and tobacco, paper and paper products, chemicals, petroleum, rubber and plastic products are among the major consumers of energy. Energy savings of up to 25 per cent are possible in steam systems, largely by improving the efficiency of steam boilers, better steam distribution, and the use and recovery of waste heat and condensate. Motor systems, the largest users of electricity in industry, are often oversized, resulting in lower efficiency of operation. Potential savings are of the order of 20-50 per cent through motor system efficiency.The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM, http://www.kam.co.ke/) provides training and energy audits on energy efficiency through the Centre for Energy Efficiency & Conservation (CEEC). KAM also manages the annual Energy Management Award (EMA), which recognizes major and sustainable gains in energy efficiency, energy and cost reductions.The production of energy efficient charcoal and fuel-wood stoves has provided significant employment opportunities in urban and rural areas. For Excample, the ceramic jiko, an energy efficient charcoal stove which are produced by over 200 businesses, the bulk of which are informal sector manufacturers.
Kenya’s electricity mix is dominated by hydro generation (over 50%) and thus highly vulnerable to weather conditions and climate change. The climatic conditions of 1998–2000 and 20082009 curtailed hydropower generation and led to severe energy shortages which culminated into power rationing.A weak transmission and distribution network, low countrywide electricity access and over-reliance on hydropower which is vulnerable to vagaries of weather, are some of the challenges facing the electricity sector. To address these challenges the Government has formulated strategies whose objectives are to rapidly expand installed electricity capacity, expand and upgrade the transmission and distribution networks, and develop renewable energy sources: geothermal, solar, wind, biomass and small hydropower.
The Renewable Energy Department under the Ministry of Energy has the mandate of promoting and developing appropriate renewable energy technologies. It also plays a lead role in renewable energy policy formulation, review and analysis.Rural Electrification Authority (REA)Under the Energy Act 2006, the REA is mandated to develop and update the rural electrification master plan and promote of the use of renewable energy sources. The authority reports to the Ministry of Energy.Geothermal Development Company (GDC)Realizing the need to reduce the long gestation periods in the development of geothermal projects, the Government has set up the GDC to undertake integrated development of geothermal through initial exploration, drilling, resource assessment and promotion of direct utilization. The GDC is 100% owned and funded by the Government. By undertaking the initial project activities, GDC will absorb the attendant risks associated with geothermal development and therefore open up opportunities for both public and private participation.
Electricity marketKenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen, www.kengen.co.ke) is the leading electricity generator providing over 70% of the effective generating capacity to the national grid. The company is listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange with 70% share holding in Government and 30% private. Currently six independent power producers (IPPs) are operating in the country contributing approximately 30% of the effective generating capacity to the national grid.Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC, www.kplc.co.ke), is the national power utility responsible electricity distribution and supply. It purchases power in bulk from KenGen and IPPs currently in operation through Power Purchase Agreements approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission.Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (KETRACO) is a corporation wholly owned by the Government and mandated to plan, design, construct, own, operate and maintain high-voltage (132kV and above) electricity transmission infrastructure that will form the backbone of the national transmission grid and regional interconnection.Liquid fuels marketThe petroleum sector comprises of a mix of state-owned and private companies. This is as a result of the liberalization of the oil industry in October 1994 The National Oil Corporation of Kenya (NOCK), and the Kenya Pipeline and Kenya Petroleum Refinery Ltd (KPRL), represent the government in the sector. KPRL operates the only oil refinery in the country. A number of multinational oil companies are involved in the distribution and marketing of oil products in the country.
Degree of independence
The chairperson of the ERC is appointed by the president. The Minister of Energy appoints the seven commissioners of the ERC. Independence of authority is listed as a core value of the Commission. Financing comes from government stipends and tariffs imposed on electricity, petroleum, and other sources.
Renewable energy development strategy is stipulated in the Least Cost Power Development Plan (LCPDP), Rural Electrification Master Plan, Sessional Paper No. 4 of 2004 (The energy policy document), the Energy Act of 2006, the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) Policy, the Kenya National Climate Change Response Strategy, Gender Audit of Energy Policies and Programmes in Kenya June 2007 and Kenya Vision 2030 (the National economic development blueprint).The LCPDP envisions that Kenya’s electricity peak demand will increase from 1,302 MW in 2011 to 15,026 MW by 2030, in line with the Vision 2030 which envisages energy as a key enabler for economic growth across the country. Accordingly, through the Rural Electrification Master Plan, the Government seeks to have 100% connectivity across the country through grid extensions and off-grid systems. To meet the increased electricity demand due to the enhanced economic activities various generation sources have been considered, targeting 5,110 MW from geothermal, 1,039 MW from hydro, 2,036 MW from wind, 3,615 MW from thermal, 2,000 MW from imports, 2,420 MW from coal and 3,000 MW from other sources. The investments required for generation, transmission and distribution to meet this demand are enormous.As one measure of mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the Government of Kenya has been spearheading promotion of development and use of alternative sources of energy by developing the National Climate change Response Strategy of 2010. Kenya is pursuing an energy mix that greatly emphasises carbon–neutral energy sources such as geothermal, wind, solar and renewable biomass. In addition, the country’s building codes are being reviewed to incorporate measures that will encourage climate–proofing and the construction of energy–efficient buildings.The Kenya Vision 2030 is a long-term development strategy, whoich aims to create a globally competitive and prosperous economy with a high quality of life. It envisages that Kenya will be transformed into a newly-industrializing, middle-income country providing high quality life to all Kenyans in a clean and secure environment. Simultaneously, the strategy aspires to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for Kenya by 2015. Infrastructure, including energy, is identified as one of enablers of the envisaged socio-economic transformation of the economy with a vision to provide cost-effective, world class infrastructure facilities and services.In keeping with the Millennium Development Goals, Kenya is committed to reducing by half the number of people who lack access to modern energy services by 2015 and reducing by half the number of people living in poverty. Access to affordable energy is an essential prerequisite to achieving economic growth and poverty reduction in Kenya. The majority of people who rely on biomass for thermal energy and who lack access to electricity are in rural areas; specifically, who cook with biomass or coal are almost universally women. The lack of access to affordable energy services -“energy poverty”- disproportionately affects women and girls due to their traditional roles, household responsibilities, and low socio-political status. The Government is expanding the access of electricity in rural areas through the rural electrification programme covering both grid extension and off-grid systems. Furthermore the Government, in collaboration with development partners. Non-Governmental Organizations and the private sector, are promoting the growth of wood fuel as well as the efficient and sustainable use of biomass resources. The Government is also formulating a strategy to make the country “kerosene free” by substituting kerosene with renewable energy for lighting.Under the Feed-in Tariff policy, a total of 2,050 MW of capacity from 47 separate projects (13 small hydro, 16 wind, 6 biomass, and 1 solar) have been approved for development. Five of these have finalised their feasibility study, and two power purchase agreements have been signed. The tariff itself varies depending on whether the power is firm or non-firm, and ranges from US$ 0.06/kWh to US$ 0.12/kWh, with a special rate of US$ 0.85/kWh applied for geothermal power. These tariffs are secured for 20 years.
Kenya relies heavily on imported petroleum for local consumption. In 2007, Kenya imported 57,000 bbl/day of crude oil. The primary energy supply is dominated by indigenous biomass use, which mainly supplies households and SMEs in the country. Biomass supply is currently viewed as unsustainable.To address the energy crisis, Kenya has increased the import of electricity from Ethiopia, which offers cheap prices and, since 2009, has good hydro-electric sites.
Role of the government
The Ministry of Energy (MoE, www.energy.go.ke) is in charge of development and implementation of energy policy. In addition, the Ministry is partly responsible for the operation of the state-owned utilities in the country, and the Rural Electrification Program.
The Sessional Paper No. 4 of 2004 and Energy Act of 2006 are the policy and legal frameworks for energy development in Kenya respectively. Through these, the Government is committed to promoting electricity generation from Renewable Energy Sources (RES). In addition, a Feed-in-Tariffs (FiT) Policy has been formulated to promote RES and improve the rating of Kenya’s renewable energy sector as an attractive destination for substantial private sector investment. Under the FiT system, investment security and market stability for investors in electricity generation from RES is provided whilst encouraging private investors to operate their power plants prudently and efficiently to maximize returns. This will facilitate the exploitation of the abundant RES available in the country. The FiTs were introduced in 2008 and revised in 2010 to accommodate additional RES and reviewe the tariff prices.The Government has zero-rated import duty and removed Value Added Tax (VAT) on renewable energy, equipment and accessories. The ERC has prepared Solar Water Heating Regulations. These steps are intended to mitigate the challenges faced in exploiting the solar energy resource.
Insufficient data on renewable energy (RE) resource availability, potential and utilization;Lack of coordination among RE stakeholders and regulatory authorities;Lack of specific RE Policy, regulations and technical standards;Limited trained and qualified personnel to implement and support RE initiatives and technologies.Lack of appropriate and affordable financing option or knowledge thereof;Maintaining competitive, efficient and equitable tariffs especially for green energy projects;Attractive incentives to mobilize investments in energy infrastructure projects;Delivering committed projects on time and within budget.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC, http://www.erc.go.ke), which came into effect in July 2007, was formerly the Electricity Regulatory Board established under the Electric Power Act of 1997. The ERC is responsible for the economic and technical regulation of electric power, renewable energy and downstream petroleum sub-sectors.
With average altitudes ranging from 1500m to 1700m, Kenya is rich in wind and solar energy resources.Solar energyKenya receives daily insolation of 4-6kWh/m2. Solar utilization is mainly for photovoltaic systems (PVS), drying and water heating. The Solar PV systems are mainly for telecommunication, cathodic protection of pipelines, lighting and water pumping. Current installed capacity is approximately 4 MW. There are also approximately 140,000 Solar water heating systems currently installed in the country.In the Nairobi suburb Kibera, young Kenyans are producing small solar panels. These can generate enough electricity to operate a radio, and charge batteries or a mobile phones. They sell them for $US5, while the average income in Nairobi is around $US1 a day. An estimated 100,000 solar home systems have been installed in Kenyan houses. The majority of these consist of a small 12-14 watt photovoltaic panel.Wind energyKenya has average estimated wind speeds of 3-10m/s. Estimated installed capacity from wind generated power is 0.55 MW. It is estimated that about 300-350 wind pumps have been installed in the country.Kenya’s wind installed capacity is 5.1 MW operated by KenGen at the Ngong site. The low exploitation level of the resource prompted the Government to develop the Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) Policy which provides for a fixed tariff not exceeding USD 12.0 cents per Kilowatt-hour of electrical energy supplied in bulk to the grid for wind generated electricity. High capital cost and lack of sufficient wind regime data are some of the barriers affecting the exploitation of wind energy resource. Moreover, potential areas for wind energy generation are far away from the grid and load centres will require high capital investment for the transmission lines.Biomass energyBiomass contribution to Kenya’s final energy demand is 70% and provides for more than 90% of rural household energy needs. The main sources of biomass for Kenya include charcoal, wood-fuel and agricultural waste.The Government has identified substantial potential for power generation using forestry and agro-industry residues including bagasse. The total potential for cogeneration using sugarcane bagasse is 193MW. Mumias Sugar Company, aPrivate entity, generates 35MW out of which 26MW is dispatched to the grid. However, opportunities by other sugar factories have not been exploited.The FiT policy provides for biomass generated electricity with a power fixed tariff not exceeding 8.0 US Cents per Kilowatt-hour of electrical energy supplied in bulk to the grid. Under this policy, a 18MW cogeneration project using cane bagasse at the coastal region of Kenya has been approved.Geothermal energyGeothermal resources in Kenya are located within the Rift Valley with an estimated potential of between 7,000 MWe to 10,000 MWe spread over 14 prospective sites. Geothermal has numerous advantages over other sources of power: it is not affected by drought and climatic variability; has the highest availability at over 95%; is green energy with no adverse effects on the environment and is readily available in Kenya, unlike thermal energy that relies on imported fuel. This makes geothermal the most suitable source for base load electricity generation in the country. The current installed capacity in the country is 198 MW with 150 MW operated by KenGen and 48 MW by OrPower 4, both in the Olkaria Block. An additional 280 MW, scheduled for commissioning in 2013, is also under development in the same block. Drilling is ongoing in the Menengai Field for Phase I of 400 MW, whilst initial project development activities have commenced for the development of 800 MW in the Bogoria – Silali Block. These are geared towards meeting the Vision 2030 Medium Term target of 1,600 MW by 2016 and eventually 5,000 MW by 2030.HydropowerKenya’s drainage system consists of five major basins: Lake Victoria, Rift Valley, Athi/Sabaki River, Tana River and Ewaso Ng’iro North River. These basins contain the bulk of the country’s hydro resources for power generation. Kenya’s total installed large hydropower capacity is 764.5 MW. The potential for small, mini and micro-hydro system, with capacities of less than 10MW each, is estimated at 3,000MW nationwide. However, the installed grid connected small-scale hydro-electric projects contribute about 15.3 MW, though there are several other small hydro schemes under private and community generation especially in the tea estates across the country which are not grid connected.
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- Joint Programme on Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) in Developing and Transition Countries
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7 Energy Organizations
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- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- Energy, Environment and Development Network for Africa
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3 Clean Energy Companies
3 Research Institutions
- World Agroforestry Centre
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- Energy, Environment and Development Network for Africa
- Kenya Renewable Energy Data from IEA
- Kenya Contacts from Climate-Eval
- Kenya Climate Policy Data from REEEP
- LowCarbonWorld Profile for Kenya