Interview with Dr Ben Chumo, MD, Kenya Power – gold sponsors at EAPIC.
1) You have been a long-time partner of EAPIC, how important is this event on the East African power calendar?
EAPIC provides for the power utilities in the East African Region an opportunity to deliberate on the appropriate means through which the East African region can sustain long-term power supply through interconnectivity and integration. We believe that regional power pools play a crucial part in guaranteeing steady supply of quality electricity to commercial, industrial and domestic consumers in future.
2) What KPLC projects are you most excited about currently?
We are focussing on network upgrade projects to improve the quality of power supply and expanding the network to create flexibility and to further stabilise the network. We have allocated massive resources to implement the on-going substation projects and ‘Boresha Umeme’ network upgrade projects in various parts of the country. With committed financial resources currently totalling KShs.43.5 Billion, we are also fast- tracking connectivity projects with onerous annual target of one million for the next five years to raise connectivity access from the current 47% to 70% by 2017 and universal access by 2020.
In addition, we are also focussing on technical solutions to reduce our system losses from the current 17.5% to less than 10% in the short to medium term and help improve the company’s bottomline.
3) What in your view are the main challenges in the region’s power sector?
• Inadequate generation capacity
• Lack of adequate regional interconnectors
4) How is renewable energy changing the energy landscape?
Over 85% of Kenya’s energy mix is derived from renewable energy mainly from cheaper geothermal and hydropower sources. With support from the Government we have, for instance, installed hybrid systems for off-grid areas incorporating wind and solar energy in northern Kenya notably. Lake Turkana Wind Project will, in the medium term, generate 300 MW of wind energy, we also have 100 MW from Kipeto Wind project to be fed onto the grid in 24 months and several other Feed- in Tariff (renewable) energy projects to complement KenGen’s generation projects mainly in geothermal. All these projects will go a long way in buttressing Kenya as environmentally conscious country and a regional leader in renewable energy development and consumption. Even now, Kenya is ranked among top countries in Africa with the most active renewable energy sectors.
5) What are you most looking forward to during the event?
Sharing experiences in the energy sector and networking
6) Anything you would like to add?
Kenya Power will continue to maximise on EAPIC engagements even as it involves itself in strategic liaisons with other power utilities in the region.