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Identification and Evaluation of Cost Optimal Technology Options for Improvement of Electricity Access in Rural Kenya

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 7, Issue 4, December 2019, pp 678-701
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d7.0276
Tabitha N. Karanja
Department of Energy and Environmental Management, Europa Universität Flensburg, Munketoft 3b, Flensburg, Germany


With around 12% of Kenya’s rural population having access to electricity in 2014, rural electrification’s progress has been conspicuously slow over the years. The purpose of this study is to identify and evaluate cost optimal technology options for improvement of electricity access in rural Kenya, on a geographical information system platform. Based on a one-year scenario, the study uses site suitability and cost distance analysis to conduct a mapping exercise based on four pre-chosen technologies. The results indicate that these technologies have the potential to reach around 2.1 million households increasing the national electrification rate by 28 percentage points to stand at around 94% from the current reported figures of 66%. Grid extension has the potential to reach
1.6 million households, followed by the solar photovoltaics and solar photovoltaics/wind hybrid mini-grids reaching 167,925 households while solar home systems extends to 315,844 households. Geographical information systems can be useful to energy planners, regulators, investors and users, as they aid in decision-making through the intersection and integration of information on multiple levels. Further research is also identified.

Keywords: Kenya, Electricity access, Rural electrification, Rural electrification planning, Spatial analysis, Geographical information systems.

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