Distributed generation of green electricity for sustainable rural electrification: a case study of Tala area in Kangundo-Kenya
Waithera, Gichuhi N
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The electricity industry has an important role in developing a sustainable energy system, both regarding the use of electricity to improve environmental performance in society thus contributing to a better living standard and social life and to reduce the environmental impacts from the electricity industry own activities. The industry contributes significantly to the worlds total green house gas emissions and has a significant impact on other environmental aspects, such as exploitation of fuel resources, emissions to air, generation of waste and use of landscape. Approximately 80% of the Kenyan population lives in rural areas where electricity access rate is merely 4%. The main objective of this research work was to investigate the optimum power system to. supply the rural areas in Kenya given the financial constraints within many rural households while considering the environmental external costs due to each method. The effect on electricity cost due to the introduction of distributed generation of green electricity was also investigated. A study area was selected and a questionnaire whose aim was to establish the energy requirements and consumption patterns was administered. Five options to supply the study area were considered and they were:-Iarge hydro, mini hydro, solar, wind and diesel generation methods. The pertinent indicators of a sustainable power system were established through literature search. The optimum distribution network was established by analyzing the investment and losses costs for the various conductor sizes at 11 kV and 33 kV voltage levels. The optimum power system was established by summing up the generation costs, transmission costs and distribution costs for the five options. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used for the statistical analysis of the questionnaire. Technical analysis, financial analysis and graphical presentations were done using Excel. The research work established that the study area population mainly relied on firewood (84.8%) and paraffin (95.7%) as their main energy source for cooking and lighting respecti\lelv. The population spends much time fetching fil'"e\Nood and some of the ailments they experience are fuel related. The study established a set of pertinent indicators of a sustainable power system and made comparisons with the existing power system in Kenya. It also established that the optimum distribution network for the study area was 75 mm- ACSR conductor energized at 33 kV voltage level. The windgenerated energy was found to be the optimum option. Mini hydro and large hydro options compared very closely with the wind option. The diesel-generated electricity was the most costly followed by solar option. Diesel option also had the highest externality cost and hence the most damaging to the environment. Therefore the optimum power system for the study area was found to be distributed wind-generated electricity with a distribution network of 75 mm" ACSR conductor energized at 33 kV.