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Energy for What?

Contemporary Energy Issues & Dilemmas in Kenya
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"Energy For What? Contemporary Energy Issues & Dilemmas in Kenya" explores the details of today’s energy challenges in Kenya, using statistical graphs, diagrams and photographs as illustrations. The Kenya Energy Compendium is organized in six parts as follows.

ONE: In the first section, Introduction to the Compendium, there is a short description of the purpose of the Compendium, followed by basic statistics describing Kenya’s energy supply and demand along with a short comment on the nature of available energy data.

TWO: The second section, Energy in People’s Lives, takes on the perspective of households, looking first at energy choices in rural and urban households as well as popular energy knowledge in a poor neighbourhood of Nairobi. This section also considers the impact of new energy developments in rural areas and concludes with thoughts on educating energy professionals.

THREE: From this grassroots perspective, the third section jumps into Energy Policy and the Dilemmas of Fossil Fuels. The articles here include a review of the assumptions that underlie current policy preferences as well as unpacking Kenya’s Energy Act of 2019 and the role of taxes in power generation. Energy policy thinking, however, rarely includes the dominant fuel used in Kenya, biomass – the wood, charcoal or agricultural wastes used in some businesses and in many homes for cooking.

FOUR: That is why the fourth section asks, Biomass Energy: Renewable, But Is It Sustainable? This section considers the role of women in energy policy decisions and looks at how energy prices affect household energy choices, encouraging the use of biomass. It concludes by arguing, contrary to many policy expectations, that biomass energy is here to stay.

FIVE: Although biomass is the most common household fuel, the fifth section covers centralised grid electricity. Grid electricity, also known as ‘power’, dominates policy thinking and in Kenya, much of this electricity already comes renewable sources. However, electricity from the grid is very expensive, raising the question: Grid Electricity: Renewable, But Is It Affordable? This section identifies what is behind the price Kenyans pay for electricity, identifies additional renewable technologies that might be introduced, and identifies options for financing green power.

SIX: The sixth and final collection of essays is about the future: What Might a Different Energy System Look Like? This is where the impacts of carbon prices, climate change, long distance power lines and smaller distributed energy systems are considered.

Product details
Date of Publication
December 2021
The Society for International Development
Number of Pages
Language of publication
ISBN: 978-9914-40-351-0
Table of contents

Energy In People’s Lives

12 CHAPTER TWO: Energy Use in Numbers: Lighting and Cooking in Kenya’s Counties, 2019

18 CHAPTER THREE: Energy Choices for Households in Rural and Urban Kenya

32 CHAPTER FOUR: Popular Energy Knowledge in a Poor Nairobi Neighbourhood: Report from Kibera July 2019

41 CHAPTER FIVE: Sustainable Energy and Livelihoods: Policy compliance in the Olkaria Geothermal Project

48 CHAPTER SIX: Beyond Engineering in Energy Education: A Kenyan initiative

Energy Policy And The Dilemmas Of Fossil Fuels

54 CHAPTER SEVEN: Fossil Fuels in Numbers: What is their role in Kenya’s energy system today?

58 CHAPTER EIGHT: Unpacking Kenya’s Energy Act, 2019

77 CHAPTER NINE: Assumptions we Make about Energy Supply and Demand: A People Versus Government Perspective

92 CHAPTER TEN: Tax Policy and Power Generation Hold the Keys to the Future of Fossil Fuels in Kenya

Grid Electricity: Renewable, But Is It Affordable?

162 CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Grid Electricity in Numbers: Is It Affordable?

172 CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Financing Green Electricity Generation in Kenya

182 CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Renewable Energy Technologies for Power Generation in Kenya

188 CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: What Is Behind the Price Kenyan Consumers Pay for Electricity?

Biomass Energy: Renewable, But Is It Sustainable?

106 CHAPTER ELEVEN: Biomass Energy in Numbers: Is it sustainable?

112 CHAPTER TWELVE: Energy Prices, Energy Poverty & Sustainability in Kenya

132 CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Kenya’s Energy Landscape: Where Are the Women in Kenya’s Energy Story?

148 CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Biomass Is Here to Stay: Towards a Sustainable Future

What Might a Different Energy System Look Like?

202 CHAPTER NINETEEN: Kenya’s Renewable Energy Numbers: Compared to other African countries

204 CHAPTER TWENTY: Impact of Climate Change on Energy Developments in Kenya

225 CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE: Carbon Pricing & REDD+ Against Climate Change: Examining policy options for Kenya

248 CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO: Demystifying the Eastern African Power Pool (EAPP)

266 CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: Distributed Renewable Energy in Kenya


Energy for What_compedium.pdf