Earlier in the year, Kenya power announced that they were partnering with UNEP. The aim of this partnership was to carry out feasibility studies for electric mobility. Here are some possible future outcomes following this announcement.
According to iAfrikan author, Jacob Mugendi, as of 2020, there were more than 1. 4 million boda boda (motor cycles used for commercial purposes) riders in Kenya, doing a total of 22 million rides per day. The total revenue from the industry is KShs 980 million per day. On average boda boda riders spend about 25% of their income on fuel. This would translate to roughly KShs 250 million per day. If boda bodas alone were to transition to fully electric, the demand for power would sky rocket. This would create some challenges and opportunities for Kenya power.
Currently, the highest demand for electricity is between 6pm and 10pm. (When we all arrive home from work or school and use our instant hot showers at the same time) If we all supposedly plug in our EVs during this time we would strain the grid. To ensure this does not happen, the best way would be to introduce new tariffs with an emphasis on favourable rates when demand is low.
Demand for electricity is lowest between 11pm and 4 am. If the regulator would introduce a 30-40 % drop in price during this period, this would ensure most EVs would be charged during this ‘off peak’ time. Kenyans love a bargain and there is no way we will pay more if we have an alternative.
Solar power generation is highest at noon while wind power generation is highest at night. One of the biggest hindrances to uptake of renewable energy especially wind and solar is intermittency. This is the fact that the sun goes down hence production stops and also wind does not blow consistently through the day. With the right equipment (vehicle to grid) you can use your EV as a large battery to power your house and you can sell any excess capacity you have back to the utility company. When the sun is shining the most you can store that excess power in your EV and then use it when there no generation of solar at night.
Air quality is increasingly becoming more important to. Ella Kissi-Debrah is a nine year old girl who tragically passed away in 2013 in the UK. Kissi-Debrah’s mother, Rosamund, waged a long fight to get justice for her daughter and highlight the UK’s air pollution problem. The case went on and in December 2020, a UK coroner ruled that her death was caused by air pollution. This will be the first time that a death certificate will read air pollution as a cause of death. This sets precedence and countries will come under increasing pressure to ensure the air quality for their citizens is improved. A fairly easy way to drastically improve air quality would be to switch mobility to electric. We had a glimpse of what it would mean to have clean air when Covid 19 started and there were no vehicles on the roads.
We are not sure of the problems that the Electrification may cause but the benefits are there to see. Lets all embrace this coming wave.
John Msingo is the East African Director of AfricaNEV and founder of Renewable Alternatives. Follow him on Twitter @Kenyan Futurist.