A containerized Hydropower Plant was last week commissioned in Kenya. In what is said to be a first of its kind, the pilot project aims to supply affordable and reliable electricity to rural Kenyans.
The initiative targets rural consumers and promises sustainable electricity at 25% lower rate cheaper than national utility.
This innovation is by local innovator John Magiro. Mr Magiro started this initiative by generating electricity using locally available standard engines and recycled bicycle parts to from a waterfall on river Gondo, Mihuti Village, Murang’a County.
As a result of the Green Innovations Award (GIA) programme the innovator was able to scale up his small operation. Consequently, he was able to increase power generation capacity to 47kW from 7kW translating to over 600% increase in productivity. The GIA programme is organised by the National Environment Trust Fund (NETFUND).
Magiro Hydro Electricity Limited (MHEL) under the help of NETFUND was able to collaborate with Hydrobox NV. From the joint collaboration, the two companies developed a SMART hydropower plant . This is a concept of a standardized containerized hydropower plant of 0.5MW generation capacity.
Further support from FINEXPO enabled MHEL, Hydrobox, and NETFUND to eventually commission their first containerized mini hydropower plant.
Containerized Hydropower Plant to Supply Factories
Currently , they are targeting over 600 households in rural areas. The partnership will see the rural households receive clean and affordable energy.
In future, Magiro power’s target is to reach 1 million customers who do not have access to mains electricity. He sees the project as a chance to help the community. Speaking to media he said: ”we should be able to double the capacity we are providing to our customers,”. He added’ the companies will look to supply local factories so that they can have access to affordable power.
Additionally, the project is now piloting a solar-hydropower set-up to mitigate the effect of climate change on power production. With this, the project aims to meet the power demands of its customers year-round.
At a time when Kenya Power seeks network expansion to cater for E-mobility, it is good news that the rural community has not been left behind. This pilot project has the potential to be a scalable and replicable solution for accelerating rural electrification.