Socio-Economic Viability of low-carbon off-grid Power as a Policy for inclusive access to clean Energy in Naibunga conservancy of Laikipia County, Kenya
Mungai, Angela, W
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Kenya, among other developing countries, faces low access to low-carbon power, particularly in remote rural settings which are characterized by sparse settlements and low incomes. This .study sought to evaluate the socio-economic viability of low-carbon off-grid technologies as a policy directing for powering isolated low-income communities. To this end, the role of actors in the household off-grid energy sector was examined through literature review and key informant interviews. Key findings indicated that the Laikipia County Government and local communities, including women, were largely excluded from national low-carbon energy planning and delivery. In addition women were found to be strong actors in the uptake of clean off-grid technology. To assess the social viability of clean off-grid energy technologies, a household survey was conducted in a remote rangeland settlement in Naibunga, Laikipia NOIth using interview schedules to assess demographic characteristics, energy consumption patterns and average expenditure on traditional fuels, clean energy awareness, preferences and willingness to pay. Descriptive analysis of social data was done using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software. Household off-grid clean energy options studied were found to be socially viable, with fuel costs substantially lower than high-carbon fuels, as most remote households, especially women, were willing to upgrade to clean energy, but affordability of equipment was a key concern. The economic analysis of renewable off-grid technologies was performed using the Levelised Cost of Energy, Net Present Value and Economic Rate of Return models and subjected to a sensitivity analysis to assess the economic performance of technologies to changes ill macroeconomic indicators; discount rate and inflation rate. Key findings revealed that clean energy off-grid technologies were economically viable as an alternative to the power grid, with the highest ranked technology being Pico solar, solar panels and battery powered torches for lighting and liquid petroleum stoves, clean cookstoves and biogas digesters for cooking. The impact of Kenyan policy, regulations and guidelines on the expansion of clean energy to offgrid areas was examined through content analysis of policy documents revealing that clean energy policy for off-grid areas was largely focused on utility scale projects for institutions and trading centers, largely crowding-out remote off-grid households. The study concluded that lowcarbon off-grid technologies are socially and economically viable as a policy alternative to the power grid for inclusive access to remote, low-income households in Kenya. The most socioeconomicaIly viable off-grid low-carbon lighting technologies for remote low-income homesteads are Pico solar lamps and solar panels which were found to be resilient to macroeconomic shocks, while portable liquid petroleum gas stoves and clean cook-stoves were found to be the most socio-economicaIly viable technology for low-carbon cooking due to relatively low cost and portability factors which were favorable for pastoralist communities. FinaIly, a change in policy direction was recommended, towards a multi-stakeholder planning approach, devolved funding and regulatory functions, financial interventions for low-income remote households and expanded public-private partnerships, to achieve inclusive access to clean energy.
University of Nairobi
SubjectSocio-Economic Viability of low-carbon off-grid Power as a Policy for inclusive access to clean Energy in Naibunga conservancy of Laikipia County, Kenya
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
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