Energy Supply in Kenya: How to Make Energy Supply Sustainable, Secure and Affordable

Last June 5 to 10, 2014, Psychology Volunteers on Bikes External Relations Officer Monica Manluluyo attended the 2014 International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability. The 6-day conference was held in Tongji University, Shanghai, China where experts on environment, energy, urban development and economy discussed regional and global ecological civilization and green development in the new age together with participants around the world.

476wh1bwif5r5emKennedy Liti Mbeva is a Masters Candidate at the UNEP-Tongji Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development. He is also the Policy and Advocacy Development Officer at the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change – Kenya. During the 2014 ISCES: Symposium on Energy Transition and Climate Change held last June 5, 2014 at Tongji University, Shanghai, China where he was an awardee of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) scholarship, he shared about the energy supply in Kenya.

Within 16 years, Kenya envisions itself to be a middle-income country. Right now, over 90% of rural households rely on firewood, since only 5% are connected to the electricity grid. In urban households, 80% depend on coal since only 50% are connected to the grid. Of Kenya’s total population, only 25% have electricity and this privilege is so expensive.

Direct fuel use in industrial and commercial sectors is low which is an important transition point from the kind of Kenya we see today and what they want to be by 2030. Coal and huge oil reserves have also been discovered.

Kenya’s interventions include clean and energy efficient cook stoves to reduce the demand and usage for biomass while increasing the use of LPG; increased usage of geothermal power which they aim to account for 20% of the total energy supply by 2030; integration of small hydro electricity production into the grid; and solar and wind power. As of 2012, the government has required  new homes – concrete or not – to have solar panels.