Raila blames bureaucracies in energy sector for keeping investors away

Former PM Raila Odinga. [File, Standard]
Investors are avoiding Kenya due to frustrations in the energy sector, Opposition leader Raila Odinga has claimed.

Raila, who is also the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development, said bureaucracies in Kenya had seen energy capacity at a level that production was almost equivalent to consumption.

According to the Energy ministry, Kenya has an installed capacity of 2,712MW and with a consumption of 1,860MW, it leaves a surplus of about 900MW.

Speaking at Strathmore University during a conference on energy yesterday, Raila said the surplus power was unreliable and was the reason investors were keeping off Kenya.

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“I have been talking to our ministry about bureaucracy in giving licences to those who want to generate energy. There is too much bureaucracy. We need to meet the demand. Demand is a deep sea in Kenya. All the time we have to ensure there is a gap between generation and consumption to encourage consumers,” he said.

Raila added that he had been trying to encourage companies interested in generating power to invest in Kenya, but bureaucracies in the energy sector hampered the initiatives.

Sufficient energy

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“Allow the people to generate to ensure there is sufficient energy. But our argument is upside down. Our 2,700MW is equivalent to consumption in a city in US or Europe,” he said.

He said the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) was behind inability for Kenya to increase its power supply.

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“That animal (EPRA) I said needs to be tamed because it is making our economy inefficient since people who want to invest in stand-alone systems where there is deficiency in energy supply are discouraged,” claimed Raila.

He said Western Kenya was experiencing frequent power outages yet two companies that had expressed interest to generate power in Homa Bay and Siaya counties had been discouraged.

“There are two companies that want to set up power plant, but they are frustrated that they will be licensed if they accept to come on the national grid by 2024,” he stated.

He said because of the low capacity of local energy, many jobs had slipped away as investors preferred countries with reliable energy.

“Energy drives the economy. Good jobs go where there is adequate energy, good transportation and fast internet connectivity. It does not go where power is unreliable and non-affordable,” he said, citing China and India.

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He recommended a focus on renewable energy due to the damaging effects of relying on fossil fuels.

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