REREC to spend Kshs 15B to boost rural household power access

Written By: Dennis Rasto/Ronald Owili
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The 50MW Garissa Solar Power Plant. | REREC

The Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC) plans to spend Kshs 15 billion to increase commercial and domestic connections across the country.

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Board Chairman Prof. Simon Gicharu said REREC would use part of the funds in developing and managing the use of renewable energy technologies including biomass, municipal waste, solar, wind, tidal waves and small hydropower plants.

The one-year old corporation seeks to promote generation of renewable energy across Kenya to increase electricity supply in off-grid areas.

“Renewable energy is our utmost priority since Kenya has ample sunlight that can generate enough power to power homes and industries. As part of our plan, we put up a 55megawatt solar farm which is cheaper to run and produces more electricity than Kindaruma hydropower station,” Prof. Gicharu said.

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The chairman announced that in promoting uptake of green energy, REREC had initiated talks with local and foreign investors to set up solar panel manufacturing factories in the country.

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Data shows that at least 25 percent of the population who live without electricity access dwell in remote rural and peri-urban areas of  the country where infrastructure is still subpar.

Energy generation from solar and wind have been identified as faster ways to increase access.

Prof.  Gicharu said the corporation will set up 147 small solar plants in off-grid towns, to light up homes in Mandera, Garissa, Turkana, Wajir, Lamu and Tana River.

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REREC took over the Energy Centers that were formerly under the Energy Ministry after President Uhuru Kenya assented to the Energy Act, 2019 on March 14, 2019.

Director at REREC Energy Center Dr Rose Mkalama saidcurrently, there are 16 Energy Centersin several parts of the country at Mtwapa (Kilifi), Bukura (Kakamega), Busia, Garissa , HomaBaya, Jamhuri (Nairobi), Kericho, Kisii, Kitui, Lodwar (Turkana), ,Marsabit, Migori, Mitunguu (Meru) Mirangine (Nyandarua), Wajir and Wambugu in Nyeri County.

The 16-regional energy centers, observed Dr Mkalama are also mandated to conduct active research on various household and institutional improved cook stoves.

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This includes training for local artisans in the manufacture of improved wood and charcoal cook stoves for sale to the general public.

Dr Mkalama said that they shall be engaging with Governors from all the 47 counties to ensure that the Energy centers are professionally managed for the benefit of local communities at the grassroots level.

He spoke in Nakuru after a technical committee met the corporation’s directors and top management to review its takeover of new functions from the Ministry of Energy, following enactment of the Energy Act 2019, which reorganized the defunct Rural Electrification Authority (REA) to REREC.

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