The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) is seeking to spur investment in mini-grids in the country, in an effort to increase electrification in underserved areas distant from the main-grid. This will be achieved through the provision of a regulatory framework for tariff approval, licensing requirements, technical guidelines, and performance requirements for mini grids.
As such, EPRA has developed the Energy (Mini-Grid) Regulations, 2021 and is seeking consensus from players in the industry over the proposed Regulations. The Regulations support the national aspiration of realizing universal access to electricity by 2022 as envisioned in the Kenya National Electrification Strategy (KNES) launched in 2018.
The draft Regulations were developed within the provisions of the Energy Act, 2019 and are meant to harmonize the mini-grid approval requirements by the National Government, County Governments, and relevant regulatory bodies; provide for mini-grid tariff approvals; provide a clear and competitive process for mini-grids licensing and interconnection to the main grid.
“An Impact Study of the current mini-grids regulatory framework revealed that the framework does not directly address mini-grid development in the country. It is against this backdrop, and an increased interest in mini-grid development by key players, that EPRA developed the draft mini-grid regulations” says EPRA Director General Mr. Daniel Kiptoo Bargoria.
The Regulations are expected to encourage the development of mini-grids in rural Kenya therefore providing a cheaper and cleaner energy alternative to the commonly used energy supplies such as batteries and kerosene lambs. With a projected additional 280 mini-grids between now and 2022, mainly powered by solar, hydro and wind, underserved communities are poised to benefit from electricity below Kenya’s Carbon Dioxide Emission Factor (CEF) of 0.33kg per kWh. Further, mini-grids provide more opportunities for businesses that rely on electricity, stimulating rural economic development.
Kiptoo also noted that there is a need to strengthen the weak areas of the Regulations through consultation and concurrence amongst sector players. “Deployment of mini-grids requires a robust policy and regulatory framework which encompass input from all key stakeholders.We therefore look forward to receiving your views and feedback on the draft Regulations” added Kiptoo.
To have sector players understand the rationale for the proposed rules, EPRA will conduct nationwide sensitization and consultative sessions before the next stages of validation. The first forum will be held in Garissa town on 12th July 2021, and thereafter in Lodwar, Mombasa, and eventually Nairobi.