State bets on e-vehicles to consume idle power

State bets on e-vehicles to consume idle power

State bets on e-vehicles to consume idle power

Friday March 29 2024

A charging handle recharges an electric vehicle at TJ&U garage in Buruburu, Nairobi on May 24, 2023. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The State is betting on increased uptake of electric vehicles to increase consumption of idle power at night and during off-peak seasons. It also sees demand from electric cars reducing curtailment of electricity and avoiding overloading the ageing transmission network.

Electricity curtailment is an action meant to reduce the amount of energy generated within a system to ensure there is a balance between demand and supply. It is critical to avoid blackouts tied to transmission network breakdown.

The Ministry of Transport says the electricity curtailed daily, estimated at 1,357 megawatt hours (MWh) is enough to power 7,000 electric buses, each with a battery capacity of between 180 kilowatt-hours (kWh) to 200 kWh over 200 kilometres.

Official data by the energy regulator shows 495,437MWh were curtailed between July 2022 and June last year, translating to an average of 1,357MWh.

“E-mobility can help bridge this gap (curtailment) by charging electric vehicles, especially at night. The daily curtailed energy can therefore put about 7,000 electric buses or over 200,000 electric motorcycles on the road,” the ministry says in the National E-Mobility Policy.

Curtailment is mainly done during off-peak hours; in Kenya, this mostly happens at night.

Ageing lines

Increased demand for electric vehicles offers Kenya Power a convenient route to help reduce overload.

Kenya Power has attributed some of the national blackouts— most recently the one that hit the country in November last year —to overload on the ageing transmission line, saying the infrastructure lacks capacity to handle a sudden spike in supply.

The plan fuels the push to have more electric vehicles on the road to cut carbon emissions from fossil fuels and stem adverse climatic change.

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