The government has paid out more than 67 billion shillings in fuel subsidies this fiscal year to protect Kenyans from skyrocketing prices that have skyrocketed the cost of living and left many families in dire straitsp>
Monika Juma, Secretary of the Energy Cabinet, said Thursday that the state will have about 84 billion shash by the end of the month for Subsidies will have been issued to stabilize pump prices.
However, the CS urged governments to invest more in renewable energy and said the price of crude oil was at a global peak unprecedented levels that will hurt many struggling economies.
“We are still taking some stabilization measures. The situation worldwide underlines the need to use renewable energy sources,” said Dr. Juma during the Sustainable Energy Conference at the KenGen Geothermal Spa in Naivasha.
Not unique to Kenya
CS said the situation was not unique to Kenya adding that local pump prices are relatively better compared to other countries. She said the Covid-19 pandemic and the lack of rain have exacerbated the situation.
Dr. Juma expressed regret that high electricity costs have prevented Kenya from realizing its potential as a business and technological powerhouse. She said the state is trying to provide affordable electricity without compromising on quality or reliability of supply.
CS said the government’s goal is to reduce sources to diversify power generation by focusing more on geothermal, hydroelectric and wind power. “Kenya has developed into one of the continental powerhouses in clean energy generation over the past 10 years. It all started with one goal, which was universal access to electricity for all Kenyans,” she said.
Access was below 30 percent, with numbers rising to 75 percent in less than a decade. She said the government will invest in off-grid solutions to bring electricity to remote areas, with the aim of achieving universal access by the end of the year.
“While universal connectivity remains a worthy goal, the government has also made some significant progress as the number of connected households increased from 2.3 million in 2013 to 6.2 million in 2022 “said dr. Juma.
President Kenyatta appointed a task force in March to review the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) signed between Kenya Power and all power producers with the aim of reducing energy prices and renegotiate other terms.
“This was in response to widespread outcry about high electricity prices from both consumers and businesses. After six months of study and by far the most complex review of PPAs ever conducted in the country, the task force delivered its report with recommendations to, among other things, reduce electricity costs by 33 percent,” said Dr. Juma .
KenGen Electricity Generation Company (KenGen) executive director Rebecca Miano said that while African countries are rich in resources such as solar and wind, they remain at high levels of pollution caused by dirty fuels.
She said Africa is one of the regions that could benefit most from investment in clean energy resources. “The continent’s true potential as a world leader in renewable energy has been overshadowed by its reliance on fossil fuels, particularly coal, which accounts for much of Africa’s total installed power generation capacity,” she said.
In 2020, only nine percent of all energy generated in Africa came from renewable sources.
Clean Development Mechanism projects
As part of green energy production, KenGen implements six Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects that offset a total of 4,617,309 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (carbon credits) annually.
KenGen CEO , General (Rtd ) Samson Mwathethe, said that climate change is already having detrimental effects around the world.
“Since the 1960s, the story of climate change has moved from a theory to reality. In Africa, rainfall patterns have changed, temperatures have continued to rise, our forests have continued to shrink and in an unfortunate history of events, the long rainy seasons are now becoming shorter and drier,” he said.
The forum brings together stakeholders from the energy sector and seeks to address challenges that are hampering Kenya’s efforts to increase clean energy use.
Making energy available
Nation Media Group CEO Wilfred Kiboro said governments need to find ways to make energy available, accessible and affordable. He blamed politics, corruption, lack of vision and bad politics for the sad state of affairs.
“Only people from privileged backgrounds have access to energy. This is unacceptable. States should make affordable electricity a human right. It should be enshrined in the constitution,” he said.
NMG chief Stephen Gitagama said the energy sector remains largely untapped. Kenya is one of the top 10 countries in the world to have embraced green energy, with over 90% of its energy coming from hydrothermal, geothermal and wind power.