The Standard Group Plc is a multi-media organization with investments in media platforms spanning newspaper print operations, television, radio broadcasting, digital and online services. The Standard Group is recognized as a leading multi-media house in Kenya with a key influence in matters of national and international interest.
  • Standard Group Plc HQ Office,
  • The Standard Group Center,Mombasa Road.
  • P.O Box 30080-00100,Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Telephone number: 0203222111, 0719012111
  • Email: [email protected]

Eastern Africa power pool is a beacon of hope

 EAC flag. [File, Standard]

Energy access in Africa remains a pressing concern, despite growing government efforts to get electricity closer to the people.

Yet, energy remains one of the single most important ingredients for economic transformation of nations and improvement of livelihoods of individuals.

Access to modern energy not only improves healthcare and education but also catalyses other critical services, resulting in increased economic prospects and a longer life expectancy. Similarly, lack of modern energy services stifles social and economic growth, with women bearing brunt of energy poverty as they support their families.

Kenya has immense potential for geothermal with scientists estimating it to be at about 10GW in the Rift Valley region. To date, only about 980MW has been exploited in over seven decades that the country has invested in geothermal. KenGen PLC has by far made the greatest impact in this area having developed 799MW of geothermal energy in the Olkaria region and targeting to bring in more capacity over the next decade.

Different African countries are blessed with diverse energy resources, which some are unable to exploit owing to lack of expertise, limited funding and other challenges.

To close this gap, the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) was mooted. This is a regional entity that coordinates cross-border power exchange and grid interconnection among governments in the Eastern Africa region. The EAPP currently has 13 member countries that have signed an Inter-Governmental Memorandum of Understanding (IGMOU), as well as 14 utilities that have signed an Inter Utility Memorandum of Understanding (IUMOU) all aimed at pooling resources and expertise to solve a common problem.

The Eastern Africa Power Pool is a model gem whose time has come to improve electricity access in the region for the following reasons: First, it is crucial to recognise that different countries have varied energy resources; one may have an abundance of renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric, solar, or geothermal power, whereas others may have more limited resources.

However, the Eastern Africa Power Pool allows countries to trade by capitalising on their strengths and overcoming their limitations, enabling a more effective and sustainable use of energy resources.

Kenya, for example, is connected to Ethiopia by a 500kV HVDC connection, allowing Kenya to import up to 400MW of hydroelectric electricity from Ethiopia, thereby increasing Kenya’s energy capacity. A similar arrangement has existed between Kenya and Uganda for generations and today the two East African neighbors enjoy the full benefits of a net import/export arrangement.

Secondly, when a country is part of a regional energy power pool, it enjoys connectivity and access to a vast energy infrastructure beyond its borders, enhancing access to electricity for its population.

Thirdly, being a member of a power pool improves a country’s energy quality by requiring high operational technical requirements while generating and selling electricity over shared connections. The Eastern Africa Power Pool serves as a beacon of hope for energy resilience and security in the region.

-The writer is the CEO of KenGen PLC

Related Topics


Trending Now


Popular this week