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    Kenya Power pushes on with e-mobility drive

    February 8, 2023 - The Star


      Kenya Power has invested more than Sh40 billion in grid expansion and refurbishment to enable it transition the country to the first phase of e-mobility.

      The electricity distributor said the investment has been done in the past five years with an additional Sh40 million set aside this year to purchase three electric vehicles and construct three electric vehicle-charging stations within Nairobi.

      The demand for electric-powered vehicles is expected to rise in coming years with increased awareness of the benefits of e-mobility and calls for clean energy solutions to combat climate change.

      According to Kenya Power, the grid network is robust enough to support the transition from fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

      Kenya Power's acting managing director Geoffrey Muli said through the support of the European Union, they are currently undertaking a multi-stakeholder project focused on modelling of the grid network, to analyse the impact of charging infrastructure on the national grid.

      'The company has consistently invested heavily towards the expansion of the grid's capacity and its automation to accommodate the exponential growth in demand for electricity and to improve the flexibility of the grid and, in turn, the quality of power supply,' said Muli.

      Speaking at the opening session of the firm's inaugural e-mobility Conference, he added that data collected would be used to develop strategies for management of growth in electricity demand driven by e-mobility.

      The conference brings together more than 300 participants drawn from the private and public sectors to develop a roadmap for electric motorisation in the country.

      Kenya Power said it would deploy 15 e-motorcycle charging and swapping points at existing petrol stations in Nairobi with planned extension in Kisumu.

      'We are working with investors and stakeholders to support in identification of sites for potential charging stations and developing requisite geo-mapping software to enable users locate the nearest charging station,' said Muli.

      The company is in the process of hiring a consultant to guide the development of an E-mobility Network Infrastructure System (ENIS) to pilot the electric vehicle charging stations, both for company use and demonstration purposes.

      It plans to phase out its entire fleet of 2,000 fossil fuel-powered vehicles within four years through retrofitting electric engines on existing vehicles as well as the purchase of new electric vehicles.

      To accelerate investments in e-mobility, the company has submitted a proposal for an e-mobility tariff to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), which is currently undergoing public participation.

      Currently, the grid totals about 300,000 kilometres in circuit length of the high, medium, and low voltage networks which serve over 9.1 million customers, giving access to over 75 percent of the country's population in all 47 counties.

      Additionally, the country has an installed capacity of 3,321MW against a peak demand of 2,132MW. During off-peak, which happens late in the night, the demand drops to about 1,100MW.

      Over the last three years, approximately 90 percent of the electricity dispatched to the grid comprises of clean energy generated through renewable sources such as hydro, geothermal, solar, and wind. This rises to 100 percent during most of the night off-peak time.

      Charging electric vehicles especially at night would, therefore, help bridge the gap between off-peak load available generation capacities as well as raise the average demand to above 1,500MW, making E-mobility more environmentally friendly end to end.


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