Kenya is in talks with the World Bank for a 10 billion shillings (about 100 million US dollars) loan to finance the development of mini-grid electric power stations in off-grid and remote areas, says Energy Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Charles Keter.

The project involves the installation of solar power and wind energy projects in remote areas where it makes no economic sense to put up electricity transmission lines, he said here Wednesday, adding that the propkect would boost efforts to achieve universal electricity connection in the country by the year 2020.

“The challenge for the government in enhancing electricity access to all Kenyans has been the fact that generating and supplying electricity to remote and sparsely populated areas is expensive and at times, it makes no economic sense to put up transmission lines,” said Keter.

However, the government hopes that commissioning of a mini-grid substation in Garissa in northeastern Kenya by President Uhuru Kenyatta last week, followed by the commissioning of 19 other mini-grid stations, will enhance electricity access in remote areas.

In order to further enhance these efforts, the government is seeking 10 billion shillings from the World Bank to finance the development of more mini-grid connections in remote areas of the country.

The project will also involve putting up solar power and wind power projects within the next four years.

With the cost of power from mini-grid stations ending up being expensive at times, although designed for the marginalized, Keter hopes that the ongoing forum by mini-grid energy experts will provide innovative solutions to overcome this problem.

Close to 180 institutions in off-grid areas will be connected with power from solar projects in the next fiscal year.

Source: Nam News Network