Kenya Power Lighting Company PLC (Kenya Power) owns and operates most of the electricity transmission and distribution system in Kenya. Kenya Power sells electricity to over 9 million customers. Its transmission and distribution network covers 248,834 km and this has enabled it to ensure that at least 75% of the country’s population have access the national grid. To sustain profitability and grow shareholders value, Kenya Power is looking to leverage on new business frontiers as part of its five-year Strategic Plan for the period 2023-2028. Some of the key pillars of this new growth plan include electric mobility, getting more Kenyans to shift to electric cooking, energy storage, and electrification of several sectors to support decarbonization.
Last week, Kenya Power hosted an e-mobility conference in Nairobi to develop a roadmap for electric motorization. More than 300 participants drawn from the energy, finance, the transport sector, as well as county governments, development partners, and the private sector, attended the e-mobility Conference. The conference was organized by Kenya Power, in partnership with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), to develop a consultative framework that will support a coordinated approach toward the implementation of electric motorization in the country. The forum was also bringing key stakeholders together to advocate for the amalgamation of policies under development by different stakeholders to ensure that they capture all opportunities presented through the entire e-mobility value chain. There is a lot of activity in Kenya’s electric vehicle sector and its good to see major stakeholders organize such events to get things going in a coordinated manner to help catalyze the growth of this sector.
“One of the aims of the conference is to offer an opportunity to map out the entire e-mobility value chain to drive investments and attract the participation of potential stakeholders to increase the uptake of electric vehicles,” said Kenya Power’s Ag. Managing Director Eng. Geoffrey Muli. He added, “we are at the center of electric motorization and therefore we are well positioned to ensure that we provide adequate and reliable electricity supply to spur the growth of this nascent industry.”
Participants at the conference were able appraise themselves with the available charging infrastructure, technologies, and ancillary services that are available in Kenya and beyond. Electric vehicle charging providers such as EVChaja were part of the exhibitors. They were also able to explore ways of improving the existing charging infrastructure, review policies and regulations supporting the development of the charging system, and benchmark against regional and global leaders in e-mobility.
The conference comes at a time when electric motorization is gaining traction globally as electric vehicles have been identified as a sustainable source of transport and one of the many initiatives that global and policy leaders are adopting to redress the damage caused by human activity on the environment. There are now over 25 million passenger electric vehicles on the road globally, with China having the largest number of electric vehicles. Here in Kenya, it is estimated that there are at least 1,000 electric-powered vehicles currently on the country’s roads, ranging from two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and four-wheelers. Demand is expected to accelerate in the coming years, as car manufacturers increasingly roll out electricity-powered vehicles.
Kenya Power has already announced plans to phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles and motorbikes from its fleet, in favor of electric-powered ones. The company has set aside KShs.40 million in the current financial year to purchase three electric vehicles and to construct three electric vehicle charging stations within Nairobi, both for the company’s use and demonstration purposes. Kenya Power’s current ICE vehicle fleet has over 2,000 vehicles and it plans to convert this fleet to electric within the next four years.
Kenya has an installed electricity generation capacity of 3,321 MW. The peak demand is 2,132 MW. However, it is the low overnight off-peak demand of 1,100 MW that Kenya Power wants to exploit initially to power Kenya’s transition to electric mobility.
Renewables provided 89% of Kenya’s electricity generation in 2021, thanks to contributions from geothermal, wind, hydro, and some utility scale solar. Kenya is one of the major players in the geothermal space and is in the top 10 in the world when it comes to installed geothermal generation capacity. Electric vehicles in Kenya will be charged using some very clean electricity. As most of EV charging globally happens overnight, this low off-peak demand targeted for EV charging will help unlock efficiencies from available generation capacity, such as Kenya’s geothermal plants, as well as boosting Kenya Power’s revenues, while helping to reduce Kenya’s huge fossil fuel import bill. Petroleum products contribute a significant portion of Kenya’s annual import bill. Petroleum products imported by Kenya increased by 12.0% to 6.4 million tonnes in 2021, costing the country a whopping US$3 billion! Reducing fossil fuel imports could help Kenya reduce its huge trade deficit.
Kenya’s Trade Deficit Over The Past 5 Years
In a move aimed at incentivising the adoption of electric vehicles as well as investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, in a submission to the energy regulator, Kenya Power is proposing a special tariff for electric vehicle charging as part of its proposed overall tariff review. Kenya Power has submitted a tariff review to the energy regulator that if approved will see tariffs go up by over 70%. This will see homes paying as much 35 Kenya Shillings per kWh (28 USD cents/kWh). Kenya Power wants to increase tariffs to help upgrade its aging transmission and distribution network.
The proposed tariff for residential customers, excluding levies and taxes, will be 21,68 Kenya shillings/kWh. The proposed tariff for electric mobility will be 17 Kenya shillings per kWh. For the e-mobility tariff, this will be for consumption between 200 and 15,000-kilowatt hours. Kenya Power proposes to hold this tariff at that rate until 2025 to incentivize investment in the e-mobility sector. So, the proposed e-mobility tariff will be lower than the residential tariff. A special e-mobility tariff is a welcome development and will come at the right time as several players are ramping up investments in the electric vehicle sector. Kenya’s e-mobility scene is getting a lot of attention, especially in the electric motorcycle and electric bus sector.
The conference was well attended and there were a lot of good exhibitions from players in Kenya’s growing electric mobility sector. It’s good to see Kenya Power leading the charge to promote electric vehicle adoption in Kenya.
Images from Kenya Power LinkedIn