By 2030, Kenya plans to have transformed to a middle-income, newly industrializing country. These plans are outlined in the long-term development blueprint-Vision 2030. Realisation of the vision is pegged on the success of the government to transform sectors such as the Infrastructure, Security and Energy among others. There has been tremendous progress made in the aforementioned sectors.
While all the sectors are important, it is almost impossible to operate without energy. Energy powers industries and lights homes. An important component of the energy sector is electric power. In Kenya, this power is generated by KenGen and other independent power producers (IPPs). KenGen is the leading power producer. It produces about 79% of the power needed in the country. KenGen has an installed capacity of 1611 MW which is enough to meet and exceed the power demanded in Kenya which stands at approximately 1530 MW. The good thing about this power is that 84% of it comes from green sources-Geothermal, Water and Wind. With heavy rains means more capacity to produce hydroelectric power and since geothermal is sustainable and renewable, there is capacity to keep producing this type of power. KenGen has plans to continue growing to accommodate the demand from the consumers. The projected capacity for kenGen stands at 5219 by year 2020.
To realize vision 2030, Kenya needs adequate, cheap and reliable power. This power will be important in:
Setting up manufacturing firms
The success of the vision will is dependent on the success of the economy. The economy will grow if the right steps are followed-cutting costs, creating employment, being a globally competitive market. The cost of importing products is higher than the cost of producing the products locally. Availability and reliability of power in Kenya will see many firms set up to manufacture the products needed by consumers. This will cut the cost of importing. These firms will need labour and therefore hire the locals for this. This will reduce the unemployment level.
Making Kenya an investment destination
Multinational companies looking to have subsidiaries all over the world consider availability and reliability of cheap power. This explains why countries such as South Africa and Egypt are the preferred investment destinations for international firms. Capacity to generate enough power plus other investment incentives will attract investors to the country. These investors will in turn pay taxes that will drive the economy.
Curbing power rationing
Power rationing is costly to the economy. Few firms can operate without power. There is a growing demand for power from consumers. When there is power rationing, high intensity power consuming industries such as Chemical and paper industries cannot operate optimally. This will in turn hurt the economy. Generating enough power will curb this problem and help the economy to grow.
A while back, Kenya used to import power from Uganda but now has the capacity to export power to the same country. If this trend continues, Kenya is almost guaranteed to become the leading investment destination in the region. As an emerging country, power supply should be key in Kenya’s agenda. This will in turn hopefully translate to success of Vision 2030.