UMEME 24/7: Theory and practice to secure stable power supply in Kenya
The Eurostars project UMEME 24/7 was invented by Amplex. Amplex co-operated with the Alexandra Institute and the German company EnergyNautics. The challenge was to secure stable power supply in Kenya. The collaboration with EnergyNautics was established via the Enterprise Europe Network.
UMEME means electricity and light in Swahili. The objective of UMEME 24/7 was to develop and test solutions for improving power supply and stability for consumers in Kenya.
Like many other developing countries, Kenya is challenged by both scheduled and unscheduled power outages during the day, which is a great nuisance to individuals, industry and the public sector – for example production facilities and hospitals.
In the UMEME project the partners developed solutions to reduce the number of unscheduled power outages and optimize the use of the electric grid. This was to be achieved by ensuring that power disconnections or consumption reductions take place only when they cause the least inconvenience. Also by communicating and planning the disconnections the aim was for the consumers more easily to understand and accept them.
In order to develop efficient solutions, it is essential to identify how users can be motivated for interacting with the electricity grid and with other consumers.
The Alexandra Institute therefore conducted a user survey in Kenya. The survey served as a basis for developing concepts and payment schemes that constitute the framework for the implementation of the technical solutions provided by Amplex and EnergyNautics.
The physical installations were done by both Amplex and EnergyNautics in December 2012 at a number of locations in Kenya. These installations have since been running continuously, collecting valuable data for further analysis.
Methods and Technologies
The Alexandra Institute used qualitative and quantitative user involvement methods.
During two visits to Kenya, staff from all three partner companies conducted interviews with 10 end users (industry, retail and service sector), 3 knowledge institutions, 1 inter-governmental organization, 3 generator companies, Kenya Power and Lake Turkana Wind project. The visits took place in December 2012 and in January 2013.
In two reports (one for each visit) the needs and barriers for different types of users were described. The insights from the user study indicate that it still makes sense to continue work with the two different scenarios: ‘Island mode’ and ‘Reduced consumption mode’. The scenarios will not be publicly disclosed. The interviews provided inputs to the economical analysis, which was also performed by the Alexandra Institute.
Outcomes of the project:
- Market Design for Rapid Demand Response – The Case of Kenya (working paper). By Kurt Nielsen and Tseganesh Wubale Tamirat.
- Report: Designing a Market Solution for Rapid Demand Response in Kenya. By Johanne Mose Entwistle, Kurt Nielsen and Tseganesh Wubale Tamirat. Executive summary.
- Johanne Mose Entwistle, blog at ing.dk: Kan Danmark lære noget om smart grid af Kenya?
- Article about the UMEME project at Network Enterprise Europe.
- Project manager Urban Engberg, Amplex, presents the UMEME project at Eurostars workshop.