Kenya tops East Africa in electricity access

876,961 Kenyan households were connected to the grid by May 2021.

In Summary

•This is a big boost towards the attainment of vision 2030 which seeks to transform Kenya into a newly industrializing, middle-income country.

• 876,961 Kenyan households were connected to the grid by May 2021.•

Wind and solar renewable energy.
GREEN ENERGY: Wind and solar renewable energy.

Kenya's electricity access now stands at 76.49 percent with 8.2 million consumers lit up, says the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

This, according to EPRA, is the highest connectivity rate in the East Africa region.

Compared to Kenya, only 24 per cent of Uganda's 40 million population had access to electricity as of January 2021 while Tanzania aims at nearly doubling its electrification rates to 75 per cent by 2033.

EPRA said this is a big boost towards the attainment of Vision 2030 which seeks to transform Kenya into a newly industrialising, middle-income economy.

The details are contained in the 2021 Energy and Petroleum Statistics Report, released by EPRA on Thursday.

The regulator said 876,961 Kenyan households were connected to the grid by May 2021, establishing the country as a regional leader in electricity access. 

The report shows 92.3 per cent of electricity in Kenya was generated from renewable sources in 2020. Geothermal, hydro and wind power sources accounted for 43.6, 36.5 and 11.5 per cent of electricity, respectively.

Only 6.5 per cent of total electricity in 2020 was generated from thermal sources.

“Kenya’s energy sector has experienced tremendous growth and development since independence with paradigm shifts occurring over time in the regulations and structures of utilities in both the electricity and petroleum sub-sectors,"said EPRA Director General Daniel Kiptoo .

He said the country has emerged as a leader in the adoption of renewable energy in Africa and beyond.

The commissioning of Kipeto Energy Limited's wind power plant with a  capacity of 100MW cemented the success of wind power development.

Further, renewable energy generation got a boost with commissioning of additional Selenkei Solar and Kian-thumbi Hydro power plants, with installed capacities of 40MW and 0.5MW respectively.

KenGen, Kenya's largest power producer accounts for 62.98 per cent of the country’s effective generation capacity followed by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) who account for 35.95 per cent.

Isolated grid generation under the Rural Electrification Program account for the remaining 1.07 per cent. By June 2021, the electricity transmission and distribution network across the country covered a total of 248,834 kilometres.

There are plans to construct additional distribution lines and establish new substations to extend power supply in rural areas.

Following a least-cost approach, the government has prioritised the development of geothermal and wind energy plants as well as solar-fed mini-grids for rural electrification.

Meanwhile, Kenya has maintained a competitive petroleum and gas market with 71 registered oil marketing companies and 1,695 registered retail stations as of 2020.

As of December 2020 Vivo, Total, Rubis and Ola controlled over 53 per cent of the market with Vivo leading at 21.17 per cent. 

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