On 12th March, 2019 the Energy Bill (National Assembly Bill No. 50 of 2017) received Presidential assent and became an Act of Parliament that is, the Energy Act, 2019. The commencement date of the Act was 28th March, 2019. Consequently, Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC) was established as the successor of the Rural Electrification Authority (REA). Under the new dispensation, REREC has an expanded mandate of spearheading Kenya’s renewable energy drive, in addition to implementing rural electrification projects. Under section 44(1) of the Energy Act 2019, REREC is mandated to undertake the following functions:
- Oversee the implementation of the Rural Electrification Programme;
- Manage the Rural Electrification Programme Fund established under section 143;
- Source additional funds for the Rural Electrification Programme and renewable energy;
- Develop and update the rural electrification master plans in consultation with County Governments;
- Develop and update the renewable energy master plan taking into account county specific needs and the principle of equity in the development of renewable energy resources;
- Support the establishment of energy centres in the counties;
- Establish framework for collaboration with County Governments in the discharge of its mandate;
- Undertake on-farm and on station demonstration of wood-fuel species, seedling production and management;
- Undertake feasibility studies and maintain data with a view to availing the same to developers of renewable energy resources;
- Develop, promote and manage in collaboration with other agencies, the use of renewable energy and technologies, including but not limited to biomass (biodiesel, bio-ethanol, charcoal, fuel-wood, bio-gas) municipal waste, solar, wind, tidal waves, small hydropower and co-generation but excluding geothermal;
- Formulate, in conjunction with the Agency, a national strategy for coordinating research in renewable energy;
- Undertake, in conjunction with the Agency, research, development and dissemination of appropriate renewable energy technologies;
- Provide an enabling framework for the efficient and sustainable production, conversion, distribution, marketing and utilization of biomass, solar, wind, small hydros, and municipal waste;
- Promote, in conjunction with the agency responsible for forests, the use of fast maturing trees for energy production including bio-fuels and the establishment of commercial woodlots including peri-urban plantations;
- Promote, in collaboration with other agencies, the development of appropriate local capacity for the manufacture, installation, maintenance and operation of renewable technologies such as bio-digesters, solar systems, turbines and other renewable energy technologies;
- Promote international co-operation programmes focusing on renewable energy sources;
- Oversee the implementation of the Rural ElectrificatHarness opportunities offered under clean development mechanism and other mechanisms including, but not limited to, carbon credit trading to promote the development and exploitation of renewable energy sources;ion Programme;
- Promote the development of electricity generation through co-generation by sugar millers;
- Provide technical and other capacity building support to County Governments in the discharge of the function of electricity reticulation and energy regulation.
The 50 MW Garissa Solar Power PlantThe Garissa Solar Plant is the largest grid connected solar power plant in East & Central Africa. This is the first time that Kenya has developed a major solar power plant to harness its abundant solar energy resource to diversify the power generation mix and reduce energy costs. Currently this project is contributing about 2% of the national energy mix and has significantly led to a reduction of energy costs in the country thereby promoting the development of clean, reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity.
Electrification of Public FacilitiesThe project implementation strategy of rural electrification in Kenya is intended to achieve the Government’s development strategy of realizing Vision 2030. The Government of Kenya’s primary goal as articulated in Vision 2030 is provision of a high quality of life to citizens by the year 2030 whereby electricity is identified as one of the critical factors of a high quality of life. The target of the Vision is to connect all public facilities and to ensure all Kenyans have access to electricity by the year 2030.
Electrification of Primary SchoolsDuring the financial years (2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16) the focus of rural electrification was on electrification of public primary schools in support of the Government’s Digital Learning Programme. This has been implemented through grid extension in schools within grid network and installation of solar PVs in schools in off-grid areas. The programme is not only intended to improve education standards but also to enhance electricity access across the country. Since primary schools are in every corner of the country, the network put in place has served as a backbone for connecting households in the vicinity of these primary schools. Electrification of Public Primary schools is still ongoing under the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation.
Transformer MaximizationThe aim of the transformer maximization project is to enhance electricity access and connectivity in areas with large populations that had not been previously not been reached due to the 600 metres radius transformer limitation. The project involves installation extension transformers per constituency in the grid areas where HT lines have previously been implemented. The Rural Electrification & Renewable Energy Corporation is working in consultation with the communities to identify priority areas per constituency for implementation of this project. The transformer maximization project is expected to open up the rural areas through supply of essential power for economic activities, facilitation of business opportunities and enhanced security. It will also expected to fast-track the connection of households that are 600 metres away from the grid.