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Access to geospatial data can spur counties

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The Kenya Productive Use of Energy Market Status Policy Brief 2021 defines the Productive Use of Energy (PUE) as the umbrella term for using off-grid electricity to power electric appliances that help run a business or income-generating activity. This is key to the country as solar-powered appliances can generate more earnings while creating savings and decent jobs. PUE also directly contributes to Kenya’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), attracting climate financing to Kenya and providing a favorable PUE business environment. It is with this outlook that Strathmore Energy Research CentreWorld Resources Institute, and SNV conducted a training on how to map opportunities for productive use of energy using the Energy Access Explorer tool. The training, which was held on 25 and 26 May 2022 was attended by county officials from Bungoma, Makueni, and Narok, private companies, and financiers.

 

The PUE is an emerging space and as such, many companies may face a challenge discovering the best opportunities to test and expand their business models and solutions. Currently, there is a lack of sufficient information on the market needs, wants, value chain, logistics, and existing competitors, among others.  The Energy Access Explorer tool aims to negate this challenge by providing an online platform that provides open-source data information to inform energy access planning, investing, and decision-making for and in the productive use sector by enabling stakeholders to visualize and analyze high priority areas where access to energy should be expanded. This Geographic Information System tool, which uses geospatial analysis, allows the user to access information such as grid proximity, wind power potential, solar power potential, location of farms, agro-processing facilities, markets, water sources, rainfall precipitation, groundwater levels, income levels, investment needs, among others.

 

Christine Atego, CEO of Sunken Ltd could not agree more. She attests that this tool will provide geographical information that has been lacking to assist in making investment decisions. It  will assist her as she sells solar water pumps to the population in Turkana. For example, before advising a supplier on a pay-as-you-go model, this tool will assist her to know the population and thus the implication of a pay-as-you-go model to her as an entrepreneur.

 

The Energy Access Explorer tool allows one to:

  • Generate geospatial analysis based on one’s own criteria
  • Link electrification to development outcomes
  • Have a better understanding in terms of aspects of affordability and levels of services needed in the region, such as health care facilities
  • Identify priority areas where grants and support will have the most impact and;
  • A bottom-up assessment of energy needs.

 

“For a long time, the energy sector has faced challenges in getting specific data in a single place. Thus, the tool provides a fundamental aggregation of data in a unitary platform in terms of infrastructure, environment, and population. Further, this tool provides a simplified user interface to allow non-technical users to analyze the data. A wonderful tool for the industry in a simplified manner,” said  Dr. Francis Xavier, Lecturer, and Researcher in energy at JKUAT and a member of the Kenya Renewable Energy Association

 

This tool is available online and is easy to use. There is no software installation needed. One can access it from the website and immediately begin using it. For further information on this tool, you can consult douglas.ronoh@wri.org.

 

This article was written by Anne Njoroge, Communications Officer at Strathmore Energy Research Centre.

 

Would you like to share your experience of living through the circumstances brought by the Covid-19 pandemic? Kindly email: communications@strathmore.edu

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Driving the Electric Vehicle Revolution in Kenya

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Strathmore Energy Research Centre, in partnership with Arc Ride Global ltd, Fika Mobility, Energy 4 Impact, and Imperial College London assisted by AEMDA, held the first Technical Working Group workshop for the Charge Up! project on 20th April 2022. In attendance were key partners from the government and the private sector with representatives from: Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), Kenya Power, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure Housing, Urban Development, and Public Works, Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KEREA), and, the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade, and Enterprise Development, and Basigo, among others. This project aims to drive the electric vehicle revolution in Kenya by creating a charging and battery swap stations master plan in Nairobi city to be replicated in other towns within the country and abroad.

 

The commercial partners, Arc Ride Global ltd and Fika Mobility will be responsible for rolling out over 300 electric vehicles (two-wheelers and three-wheelers) and 45 charge stations. Strathmore Energy Research Centre and Imperial College London will be the research partners providing a variety of data points from the electric vehicles to create a master plan for battery swapping stations in Nairobi. The Energy 4 Impact will develop a value proposition for potential business partners while providing administrative support.

 

The supply of electricity in Kenya

The Director in charge of Transport and e-mobility, Eng. David Mugambi assured the different partners that Kenya Power is ready to support electric mobility in Kenya. The company was well able to supply the electricity required to charge EVs in the country. It was, however, pointed out that it would be important to determine where the load points/areas were planned to enable the company effectively supply electricity as needed. Further, he also stated that Kenya Power is incorporating electric mobility in their energy plan to grow the generation and distribution capacity and together with other partners, deliver reliable and efficient electricity for the sector.

 

Tariff Allocation
Stima Boda Co-Founder, Jason Grass, shared his views on tariff allocation during the panel discussion. “We would need to build trust and confidence with the government, customers, and investors by incentivizing these different groups to switch from fossil fuels to electricity through tariff allocation,” he said. An investor would need to think of the cost versus benefit of installing a large-scale battery- swapping station in Nairobi while electricity providers would need access to smart meters to ensure that the electricity is for powering e-mobility. The consumer on the other hand needs to trust that electric two, three, and four-wheelers are safe to use and that there are enough charging stations for them to make the switch.

 

The first Technical Working Group workshop ended with perhaps more questions than answers but what was agreed on by all is that we need to educate key decision-makers; the government, the investors, and most importantly the consumer on the value proposition of electric mobility in Kenya. At the end of a series of workshops planned for 2022, policy recommendations will be drafted to facilitate mass electric vehicle charging infrastructure roll-out in Nairobi. The next workshop will be held in July 2022.

 

This project is funded by P4G and is led by Mr. Patrick Mwanzia.

 

The article was written by Ms. Anne Njeri, Communications Officer at Strathmore Energy Research Centre. You can contact us at serc@strathmore.edu for more information.