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How to mitigate escalating energy costs in East Africa

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Countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda are advancing in harnessing wind, solar, and hydropower. Beyond offering a cleaner and sustainable alternative, these sources have the potential to mitigate the long-term costs of electricity. Image credit: Unsplash

How to mitigate escalating energy costs in East Africa

While remarkable strides have been made in renewable energy adoption in East Africa, escalating energy costs still burden households and industries in the region.   

By Nnadozie Ogbuehi, Schneider Electric Services Director, Anglophone East and West Africa

High electricity tariffs in Kenya (averaging USD 0.16 per kilowatt hour) places considerable strain on businesses and households. In stark contrast, other African exporting nations such as South Africa (USD 0.03), Egypt, Ethiopia, Morrocco (all USD 0.05), and Tanzania (USD 0.08) enjoy more favourable energy pricing. The reverberating consequences of such disparities are profound, affecting profit margins and stifling economic growth.

However, amid this challenge, East Africa stands at the cusp of transformative developments that can reshape our energy landscape.

Renewable Energy Transition

Countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda are advancing in harnessing wind, solar, and hydropower. Beyond offering a cleaner and sustainable alternative, these sources have the potential to mitigate the long-term costs of electricity.

Regional Collaboration

Initiatives such as the East African Power Pool (EAPP) signal a regional commitment to creating an integrated electricity market. This collaborative effort can unlock economies of scale, stabilise energy prices, and fortify energy security across borders.

Nnadozie Ogbuehi, Schneider Electric Services Director, Anglophone East and West Africa

Energy Efficiency Measures

Governments and businesses are actively adopting energy-efficient technologies and practices to curtail consumption and costs, concurrently contributing to environmental sustainability.

In this transformative environment, the strategic role of modernisation cannot be overstated. It is the backbone that enables East Africa to harness the full potential of these developments by facilitating more efficient energy distribution and management.

Modernisation becomes strategic

The introduction of the Time of Use (ToU) tariff by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) in Kenya underscores the proactive stance towards incentivising large power users, particularly manufacturers, to shift production activities to off-peak hours. This not only lowers overall energy costs but also enhances regional competitiveness.

Modernised equipment and technologies offer a dual advantage, significantly increasing production speed and efficiency, thereby enabling manufacturers to meet demand effectively while saving both time and energy.

Addressing power quality concerns, modernised infrastructure incorporates power factor correction equipment to mitigate issues such as reactive power. This proactive approach safeguards against voltage drops and inefficiencies in the distribution system.

Identifying energy challenges

Crucially, modernisation provides invaluable insights into energy challenges, identifying anomalies and root causes of power quality issues. It is a proactive strategy that positions East Africa to address the potential stumbling blocks on the road to sustainable energy.

The integration of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) such as solar panels and wind turbines into a modernised energy mix is paramount. These decentralised sources not only contribute to cost savings but also enhance power quality by injecting clean energy and aiding in balancing supply and demand.

As East Africa charts its course in the evolving energy landscape, modernisation emerges as the key imperative, a strategic investment that not only mitigates escalating energy costs but propels our region towards a sustainable, efficient, and competitive future.

How to mitigate escalating energy costs in East Africa

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How to mitigate escalating energy costs in East Africa

 

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