Eng Nduma Joseph RuwahExclusive interview with Eng Nduma Joseph Ruwah, Electrical Engineer, Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board (KNEB) and speaker at the upcoming EAPIC in Nairobi in August.

Any specific projects in the energy sector in East Africa that the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board Kenya is particularly excited about?

All energy projects in the region excite KNEB since an increased generation and transmission capacity makes nuclear electricity a more viable project. Just to name a few, the Olkaria geothermal projects commissioned by the president of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project and the coal power plant project. Ethiopia has acquired a contractor for constructing the Ethiopian section of the Kenya-Ethiopia HVDC line.

What are the main challenges in implementing nuclear in the energy sector in this region?

KNEB has a very big battle to fight and one unique challenge the organisation faces is a small knowledge base to counter the ever growing dissent of nuclear power.

KNEB needs to get a team that is intimately familiar with nuclear, for it to grow. The other challenge is the fear of nuclear power after the Fukushima Daiichi accident. A lot of public awareness programmes need to be undertaken to enlighten the public.

Private-public projects (PPPs) seem to be having quite a bit of success lately…

PPPs help tap more money for infrastructure, spur innovation; transfers supply and risk demand to the private sector and shortens the project delivery dates.

This doesn’t mean that PPPs are without risks. There is a lack of accountability from the private partners and some facilities may be too expensive when operated by the private sector.

What surprises you about this sector?

The most intriguing part of the energy sector is its possibilities. Just when you think you are at the end of the road, something revolutionary comes up.

For example, the Tesla Powerwall battery— It will revolutionize electricity generation globally.

What is your message to potential investors in this sector?

Kenya plans to have an installed capacity of 5,000MW by 2017. This is a big investment opportunity for investors who want to set up IPPs and those who’ll be consuming that power. To all investors, Kenya is open for business.

What are you most looking forward to at EAPIC?

I am looking forward to interacting with professionals in the energy sector from different African countries and learning from their experiences, their failures and their successes.