The Kitui County government has been challenged to develop alternative sources of energy to meet anticipated demands in its plan.
According to the county’s draft vision for economic and social transformation, growth in health, agriculture, education and urbanization is expected to drive up demand for energy.
The electricity consumption in 2017 stood at 34.53GWh and the demand is projected to reach 50.97 GWh by 2026 under reference scenario and up to 75GWh under high reference scenario. Peak demand is also expected to increase from the current 4.9 GWh to about 12.26 GWh.
A survey dubbed Kitui County Energy Outlook says Solar, wind, biomass and coal form part of the energy resources with huge potential for the region.
“To meet the growing energy demand, doubling investments in the sector through private-public partnerships will be required. Financing of energy initiatives through public and private investment can accelerate programs and plans delivery,” the survey adds
“There is a need to explore innovative financing mechanisms for public projects and at a household level including climate finance mechanisms.”
The Chairman of SEAF-Kenya, John Kioli, in his speech during the launch of survey report commented on the opportunity to address energy scarcity and poverty, noting that 82 per cent of the population relies on inefficient use of biomass fuel.
He mentioned four principal pillars for energy access namely Research and Development, Governance, Technology and Knowledge management.
He expressed confidence that the issues addressed during the Report survey are well captured and will provide important insight into County energy planning.
Engineer Nicholas Maundu of Ministry of Energy urged Kitui County to take full advantage of the Report and increase their efforts in scoping for Renewable Energy technologies especially in the use of solar and wind.
The Energy Outlook report for the county indicates firewood as the most used source of energy among majority households at 73.9 per cent followed by Kerosene at 47.7 per cent and charcoal at 36.3 per cent.
It reports usage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) at 22.3 per cent, while biogas and briquette stood at 0.5 per cent. Crop residues are used by approximately 9.4 per cent of the households. Use of solar energy devices was reported by 32 per cent of the households while 23 per cent of the studied households reported being connected to the national grid.
There is also the use of storage batteries for lighting and powering appliances in the region.
Benjamin Mukulu, the Director of Energy on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Mineral Resources of the County Government of Kitui noted during his speech that energy is an enabler for other sectors and hence planning for energy needs consideration and integration with other sector plans including the County Integrated Development Plan.
He said that the County Energy Outlook offers a snapshot of the current energy sources, mix, preferences, factors influencing the choice of fuels and technologies the County can come up with programmes, projects and activities and offer technologies that meet people’s needs at the least cost possible.
He committed to work with all stakeholders in the energy sector and beyond in order to promote equitable access to reliable and affordable energy within the County while promoting environmental sustainability.