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Kenya Power to convert its 2,000 vehicles to electric

Story Highlights
  • Kenya Power says it has set aside KSh.40 million to purchase three electric vehicles and to construct three electric vehicle-charging stations within Nairobi.
  • The firm has been actively engaged in e-mobility projects and initiatives with local and international partners. 
  • It's also in the process of hiring a consultant to guide the development of an E-mobility Network Infrastructure System (ENIS) to pilot the electric vehicle charging stations

Kenya Power has announced plans to convert its entire fleet of 2,000 fossil fuel-powered vehicles to electric in the next four years. 

The electric distributor plans to do this by retrofitting electric engines on the existing vehicles. 

The company on Tuesday said it has also set aside KSh.40 million to purchase three electric vehicles and to construct three electric vehicle-charging stations within Nairobi.  

At its inaugural E-mobility Conference Kenya Power assured investors in the electric mobility value chain that the grid network is robust enough to support the transition from fossil fuel-powered vehicles. 

The conference brought together more than 300 participants drawn from the private and public sectors to develop a roadmap for electric motorization in the country.

“The Company has consistently invested heavily towards the expansion of the grid’s capacity and its automation to accommodate the exponential growth in demand for electricity and to improve the flexibility of the grid and, in turn, the quality of power supply,” said Kenya Power’s Ag. Managing Director Eng. Geoffrey Muli.  

In the last five years, Kenya Power says it has invested more than KSh.40 billion in grid expansion and refurbishment projects. Currently, the grid totals about 300,000 kilometres in circuit length of the high, medium, and low voltage networks which serve over 9.1 million customers, giving access to over 75% of the country’s population in all 47 counties. 

Additionally, the country has an installed capacity of 3,321MW against a peak demand of 2,132MW. During off peak, which happens late in the night, the demand drops to about 1,100MW. Over the last three years, approximately 90% of the electricity dispatched to the grid comprises of clean energy generated through renewable sources such as hydro, geothermal, solar, and wind. This rises to 100% during most of the night off-peak time. 

Charging electric vehicles, especially at night the firm says would, therefore, help bridge the gap between off-peak load available generation capacity as well as raise the average demand to above 1,500MW, making e-mobility more environmentally friendly end to end. 

To map out the needs of the e-mobility sector and define a framework to provide excellent service to all players involved, the Company has been actively engaged in e-mobility projects and initiatives with local and international partners. 

“We have established a liaison office which acts as our one-stop shop to champion the Company’s emobility business. Through this office, we are working with investors and stakeholders to support the development of the e-mobility ecosystem, which entails the identification of sites for potential charging stations and developing requisite geo-mapping software to enable users to locate the nearest charging station,” said Eng. Muli. 

Through its subsidiary, the Institute of Energy Studies and Research (IESR), the Company is currently undertaking a multi-stakeholder project supported by the European Union that is focused on modeling of the grid network, to analyse the impact of charging infrastructure on the national grid. 

The data will be used to develop strategies for management of growth in electricity demand driven by Emobility. The project also aims to deploy 15 e-motorcycle charging and swapping points at existing petrol stations in Nairobi with the possibility of extending it in Kisumu. 

The Company is also in the process of hiring a consultant to guide the development of an E-mobility Network Infrastructure System (ENIS) to pilot the electric vehicle charging stations, both for company use and demonstration purposes.

In order to accelerate investments in E-mobility, the Company has submitted a proposal for an E-mobility tariff to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), which is currently undergoing public participation. 

“The demand for electric-powered vehicles is expected to accelerate in the coming years with increased awareness of the benefits of e-mobility. We see this as an organic opportunity for us to support the country’s green agenda and to drive demand for electricity, especially at night to bridge the gap between off-peak load and available generation capacity,” said Eng. Muli. 

In August last year, the firm advertised an Expression of Interest (EOI), inviting relevant partners to assist in the implementation of the Electric Vehicle charging system, E-Mobility Network Infrastructure System (ENIS).

The move is expected to accelerate the uptake of electric mobility which has gained momentum across the world over the last couple of years. Several companies have already set shop in Kenya to build various products in response to rising demand.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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