The scoping study aims to support Kenya Power’s Decarbonise the Energy Mix Initiative that is included in the company’s Strategic Plan 2018-2023 by analysing potential challenges associated with power sector decarbonisation and suitable intervention options to overcome these challenges.
Kenya has one of the lowest carbon-intensive power systems in the region, mainly due to the high share of dispatchable renewable sources (primarily geothermal and hydro). Together with its abundance of renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, this is one of the greatest assets to facilitate further integration of variable renewable energy (VRE) and achieve full decarbonisation of its power sector. In order to continue the decarbonisation of the power system or at least maintain the high share of renewable energy in the future, the following aspects should be taken into account:
- The deployment of the Lamu coal power plant would not only lead to an oversupply of the power system but would also have negative effects on the flexibility of the system to cope with VRE as it would limit their participation due to low ramp rates and high minimum loads.
- The upscaling of renewable energy aligned with demand growth requires continuous investments in clean power capacity additions.
- The Kenyan power system has proven capable of providing certain levels of flexibility when 310 MW of wind power were smoothly added in 2019. The greater penetration of VRE will however require even greater flexibility to balance supply and demand reliably.
- The trend of an increasingly distributed power sector will also take place in Kenya and restructuring of power systems to respond to greater participation of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) is needed.
In response to the identified challenges, this study concludes with 11 concrete recommendations for medium- and long-term policy measures and technical interventions to support Kenya in the process to decarbonise its power sector.