Ben ChumoExclusive interview with Dr Ben Chumo, managing director of state-owned power company Kenya Power and gold sponsors at EAPIC. 

You have been a long-time partner of EAPIC, how important is this event on the east African power calendar?

EAPIC provides the power utilities in the east African Region an opportunity to deliberate on the appropriate means, through which the region can sustain long-term power supply through inter-connectivity and integration.

We believe that regional power pools play a crucial part in guaranteeing a steady supply of quality electricity to commercial, industrial and domestic consumers in the future.

What KPLC projects are you most excited about currently?

We are focussing on network upgrade projects to improve the quality of power supply and we are expanding the network to create flexibility to further stabilise the network.

We have allocated massive resources to implement the on-going substation projects and ‘Boresha Umeme’ network upgrade projects in various parts of the country.

With committed financial resources currently totaling KShs.43.5 Billion, we are also fast- tracking connectivity projects with onerous annual target of one million for the next five years to raise connectivity access from the current 47% to 70% by 2017 and universal access by 2020.

In addition, we are also focusing on technical solutions to reduce our system losses from the current 17.5% to less than 10% in the short to medium term and help improve the company’s bottom-line.

What in your view are the main challenges in the region’s power sector?

  • Inadequate generation capacity
  • Lack of adequate regional inter-connectors

How is renewable energy changing the energy landscape?

Over 85% of Kenya’s energy mix is derived from renewable energy mainly from cheaper geothermal and hydropower sources. With support from the Government we have, for instance, installed hybrid systems for off-grid areas incorporating wind and solar energy in northern Kenya notably.

The Lake Turkana Wind Project will in the medium term, generate 300MW of wind energy. We also have 100MW from Kipeto Wind project, which will be fed into the grid in 24 months and several other Feed- in Tariff (renewable) energy projects to complement KenGen’s  generation projects, which are mainly in geothermal.

All these projects will go a long way in buttressing Kenya as an environmentally conscious country and a regional leader in renewable energy development and consumption. Even now, Kenya is ranked among the top countries in Africa with the most active renewable energy sectors.

What are you most looking forward to during the event?

Sharing experiences in the energy sector and networking.

Anything you would like to add?

Kenya Power will continue to maximise on EAPIC engagements even as it involves itself in strategic liaisons with other power utilities in the region.