The United States of America is known for many things, one of which is their especially dependable power. It has become such a known fact that America as a country is always lit up that one could make the mistake of thinking it has always been that way.
The United States had to embark on an electrification campaign back in the 1930s. Their goal was to connect the rural parts of their nation to electricity. Two decades was what it took to achieve that goal which was 95% connectivity.
Kenya wants to achieve the same feat in seven years and they seem to be on the way to achieving their goal too. Last year, Kenya was able to add 1.3 million households to its electricity grid last year. It was a laudable achievement in their electrification campaign that raised the percentage of connected Kenyans to 55%, from 27% in 2013.
Keeping to their seven-year plan, Kenya is looking to achieve “universal access” where 95% of homes will have access to electricity. If Kenya is able to pull their electrification campaign off, it would not only have achieved in seven years what it took the US 33 years to achieve, it would also join the esteemed ranks of African countries to achieve universal access to electricity.
Currently, the African countries that have achieved this feat are Algeria, Mauritius, and the Seychelles. Kenya would also have the bragging rights of getting it done at the fastest rate in the region.
Before kudos can be allotted properly, however, Kenya will have to reach its goal of 6.5 million connected households by 2017. In December they were already near the mark with 5.7 million households connected.
Despite all this good news, Kenya’s electricity grid still has issues. Blackouts are a very common problem so much so that the lawmakers have had to consider a bill to compensate customers if a shortage lasts for more than three hours. Humorously, while discussing said bill last year in a parliamentary debate, the power was seized.
Kenya must, however, still be applauded even as they work on the issues. Kenya’s energy comes from non-fossil fuel sources—more than 60% of installed capacity comes from hydro and geothermal power.
The country, which houses the world’s largest geothermal plant which it launched last year, is also building Africa’s biggest wind energy farm to generate a fifth of its power.