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Firm's decision to reduce diesel plants laudable

By Editorial | February 4th 2021

Kenya Power (KP) plans a gradual shift from diesel-powered generators to solar and wind power. On Tuesday this week, KP invited firms to bid for the work of retrofitting 23 of its thermal power stations with solar and wind power producing capabilities. Currently, the power plants are largely dependent on diesel engine generators to produce electricity.

The power stations are located in northern Kenya where, incidentally, there is an abundance of sun and wind to make the new undertaking a success. Moving away from reliance on diesel generators will lower the company’s fuel costs, but more significantly, go a long way in reducing carbon emissions responsible for climate change and the ravages that come with it.

The high cost of producing electricity is normally passed on to consumers. Lately, there has been widespread dissatisfaction with the manner in which KP does its billing. Many consumers believe they are being overcharged. It does not help that power tariffs in Kenya are among the highest globally. Such high power costs have the undesired effect of increasing the cost of doing business, discouraging foreign investors and pushing them to set up factories elsewhere.

The public’s expectation is that the shift to solar, besides keeping the environment clean and free of greenhouse gas emissions, will result in lower, affordable bills for users. Cheaper power costs will attract investors and boost manufacturing, a key component of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda. Prudent use of solar energy could also preclude the need for coal energy, arguably a major contributor to carbon emissions that threaten our very survival.

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