Kenya’s Rural Electrification Authority (REA) said this week that it will invest $2.1 billion in the country’s electricity supply network over the next five years.
According to REA Chairman, Simon Gicharu, the money has been earmarked to develop sufficient infrastructure that will connect all the public facilities such as churches, health centres, trading centres, mosques and public primary schools, Xinhua News reported.
Xinhua News added that the connection initiative will extend to include tea buying centres, coffee, factories and processing plants, police posts, water project and boreholes, secondary schools, institutions of higher learning, and vocational training centres.
“The plan focuses more on the use of renewable energy for provision of electricity to areas that are far away from the national grid. This is expected to enhance industrialization and emergence of cottage industries,” Gicharu said during the 2016/17 -2020/2021 strategic plan in Nairobi.
Gicharu added that since 2006, the energy authority, through its electricity connection programmes, has bumped up access from 30% in 2006 to 70% in 2016.
“The 2016/17-2020/2021 strategic plan targets to electrify the remaining public facilities and households within their vicinity by June 2018 and then focus on households,” he added.
Media reported that currently 3,787 public facilities in off-grid areas, of which 629 are trading centres, are not electrified.
The authority is working to reduce this figure and connect these facilities to renewable sources of power through the development of around 450 renewable energy mini-grids.
"The balance of the trading centres and other public facilities will be electrified through interconnection of the existing diesel mini grids and the national grid,"Xinhua News reported.
Within the total grid network, the 24,536 unconnected public facilities will be electrified through extension of the grid.