Thursday, December 04, 2008

Electricity: Time to utilise HEP for businesses only

Unless we suddenly discover oil, we are headed for crunch time in electricity consumption. We've so far muddled along on the believe that just keeping ahead of the demand for electricity will do us good. Hydro-electricity power has so far been our largest source of electricity (60%) but its not looking promising given changing weather patterns and our inclination to burn charcoal from every piece of forestry. And its dependency on oil for production.

Let us be honest about geothermal electricity. This has been talked about for a decade now. The reason for non-implementation is largely due to the large initial capital outlay that is required. Given competing priorities for bond funding, KenGen may struggle to raise well-priced sufficient funds via this route.

KenGen says it has around 18% spare capacity at any given time. The spare capacity is the gap between its generated units and those bought by KPLC. Lets agree two things:

-electricity demand won't fall, rather it'll rise as economy, households grow

-but supply may fall if rains fail

Other sources being explored are:

- from neighbours one being an EAC agreement so we can source from Tororo (but note Ug had rationing issues this year) and the other from Ethiopia. Not security issues given their being prone to instability

-the expensive Ibeafrica option

Without industry, we can't grow. My proposition is that given 65% consumption of the electricity is by industry (as per chart), let gova pass a law that every house (new or old) will need to source all its electricity requirements from solar power. I am aware that this will be difficult especially for apartment dwellers, but this is not a green exercise. Its a needs-be exercise. For the rural areas, it removes the constraint on consumerism (even a lower middle class), taking off due to dependency on RE programme. Downside is the initial cost, but note every household currently pays Ksh35k connection fee to KPLC for an interment product


The impact on KPLC's bottom-line might actually be negligible. Although this it’s fastest growing customer sector, its probably the most expensive to administer.


Maishinski said...

MainaT, I doubt that such a legislation would be practical - leave alone implementable. People would simply go on a rampage.

We need to bolster research into renewable energy like Wind and Biofuels.

Our Universities should be at the forefront - offering Innovative solutions to teh unique problems that we face in our societ.

Laws are reactionary. By the time you implement them, usually some damage has been caused.

What we need is a culture of Proactive Research and Innovation (PRI).

coldtusker said...

Solar Power is a great idea but we need a push from local firms.

Of course, the govt can help by requiring better designs for houses/apartments.

MainaT said...

Maishinski-it need not be faiti accompli! It can be done as a pilot starting with some of the smaller towns or an area of Nai.
Wind farming-already being done at Ngong hills (?), but its expensive and aesthetically fails.
Biofuels-yes, but we can't even feed ourselves

CT-I think they are there, but maybe just lack the scale.

Maishinski said...

Lack of innovation in Africa is very dangerous for our future survival on this planet.

Example: Some influential people (e.g. Richard Flynn) have proposed that all incompetent species be phased out.

Flynn claims that lack of development in Africa is a result of incompetence and low IQ. His values are shared by a number of prominent scientists. They keep asking, "why is there no technological innovation in Africa?"

As an African, how would you answer that question?

Conclusions are being drawn in the scientific community that Africans are genetically predisposed to low intelligence.

Maishinski said...

Correction: Richard Lynn