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Monica_55905 Jul 14

Country Focus: Kenya and Battery Storage

Country Focus: Kenya and Battery Storage image
As Kenya continues to make strides in delivering clean energy, the importance of adapting a grid to manage the variable supply increases. Our panellists analysed the various use cases of battery storage, framed around potential use cases in Kenya and what needs to be done before we can realistically see battery storage deployed on the continent.
Joshua Choge from KenGen highlighted Kenya’s recent success in deploying Wind Power, with 310MW Lake Turkana Wind Project being officially commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta in July 2019. Chairman Choge also highlighted other renewable technologies in the countries energy mix, referencing the 50MW’s of Solar PV, and the desire to increase the share of renewables. With renewable energy’s intermittent and variable generation, the conversation around implementing Battery Storage is an important one. 

In a Kenyan context, Eric Mwangi, Senior Advisor from the Kenyan Minister of Energy recognises that battery storage has many immediate benefits to Kenya’s energy system, improving reliability of generation, such as when a hydropower plant undergoes maintenance and the system loses megawatts or being utilised to balance intermittent energy sources. The message is that Kenya has the use case to deploy battery storage today.

Conversations around battery storage often come back to the price point as somewhat of a stumbling block, and this conversation is no different. We were privileged to have Mikhail Nikomarov, CEO of Bushveld Energy & Chairperson for the South African Battery Storage speak around this point. Mikhail explained that Battery Storage is an incredibly flexible tool and can be utilised in many ways, serving multiple purposes and use cases simultaneously. A greater understanding of these use cases, and how these can be cost-saving, makes the implementation of battery storage a far more cost-effective solution. 

Our panellists looked to answer the key question of what needs to be done to reach a point where battery storage can be effectively deployed in Kenya. Here are some of the key takeaways: 
  • Adequate planning is required to understand how to best maximise storage within an energy system, where a battery should be located to increase its uses and therefore make the project more financially viable. 
  • Policy and regulation needs to be in place in order to facilitate battery storage implementation. With a degree of technology agnosticism to allow technological innovation to continue and increase the level of interest in investment into battery storage in the country. 
  • Kenya is now  looking at utility scale battery storage projects at a Governmental level, and is moving towards more formal technical and commercial proposals, whilst developing a framework to facilitate battery storage, that will support the role of the private sector in this.