IREK Working Paper no. 7

Renewable Electrification in Kenya: Potentials and Barriers

Kenya mainly depends on oil and hydro sources for electricity supply, however the rivers for hydropower and their tributaries are found in arid and semi-arid areas with erratic rainfall leading to frequent problems in stable delivery of electricity in the country. As for oil-based electricity generation, this is expensive and environmentally harmful. Kenya, however, has great potential for photo voltaics (PV)-based power generation since it is located near the equator and it receives plentiful insolation. PV technology is thus a viable option for electricity generation to mitigate the aforementioned electricity supply challenges, yet the exploitation of solar PV in Kenya is still limited. This working paper analyses both the potential for integration of PV into the Kenyan electricity generation mix and the sociotechnical, economic, political, and institutional and policy barriers, which limit PV integration. These barriers can be overcome with better and more robust policy regulations, additional investments in research and development, and coordination. Most noticeably, storage solutions and other elements of flexibility need to be incorporated to balance the intermittent nature of electricity generation based on solar PV.

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