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Kenya to promote mini-grids to achieve universal electricity access

NAIROBI, (The Southern African Times) – Kenya plans to promote the development of mini-grids in order to achieve universal electricity access by the end of 2022, the energy regulator said on Friday.

Daniel Kiptoo Bargoria, director-general of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) told journalists in Nairobi that the main national electricity grid extension is expected to plateau due to the high cost of connecting households that are distant from the existing network.

“This calls for alternative strategy such as use of isolated electricity networks with own generation with a view to electrifying unserved areas,” Bargoria said in a speech read on his behalf by Caroline Kimanthi, principal renewable energy officer, EPRA.

Government data indicates that electricity access currently stands at about 70 percent.

Bargoria observed that over two hundred and eighty mini-grids will be completed by the end of 2022 making the total number of operating mini-grids increase to more than four hundred in the next two years.

He revealed that the government is keen to encourage the development of mini-grids in rural Kenya so as to provide a cheaper and cleaner energy alternative to the commonly used energy supplies such as batteries and kerosene lamps.

The energy regulator said that it will continue to support public entities and private investors in the development of mini-grids in the country.

“It is important to note that these mini-grids, most of which are powered by renewable energy resources, accelerate access to safe, affordable, sustainable, and reliable energy for all Kenyans,” Bargoria noted.

Kenya is currently developing the Energy (Mini-Grid) Regulations 2021 that will facilitate a clear and competitive process for licensing and interconnection of the mini-grids to the main grid.

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