- Establishment of a partnership with Renewable Energy industry Stakeholders
SEED center established a partnership with the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC), with the objective of collaborating with like-minded partners in nurturing development in rural areas. Through the partnership, both SEED and REREC will combine efforts in fostering community development through provision of green energy.
The partnership will also create inter-disciplinary learning opportunities for the stakeholders as well as collaboration opportunities in technical support, human resource support, research and capacity building forums.
- Identification of the Living Lab Site
Through the development of a site identification criteria, the SEED center conducted site visits in potential areas where the living lab would be established. The criteria stipulated that the area should posses the following characteristics for eligibility:
- Should be off-grid
- Existence of marginalized community living in the area
- Accessibility from the SEED center
- Have existing energy technologies
- Availability of community land
- Future sustainability of the project
- Potential Energy Users
- Economic activity of the community
Olderkesi location scored highly from the assessment and hence was selected as a suitable site for the installation of the living lab/mini grid.
- Establishment of a collaborative partnership with Narok County Government
To promote community project ownership through the local leadership, SEED center instituted a collaborative partnership with the County Government of Narok. The partnership has enabled the center to learn on vital issues such as tariff charges and power distribution process that are essential for the project realization.
The center aims to continue working with the devolved government in enhancing energy access to communities living in off-grid areas within the county.
- Purchase of Mini-grid hardware
Following a concerted efforts by the technical team, a design of the proposed mini-grid was developed and the bill of quantities arrived at. The capacity of power to be generated was designed to be 12 KWp. This was followed by procurement process for the hardware. Competitive bidding process was selected as a suitable method of procurement, with the most competitive and competent supplier qualifying for the tender award.
Through the purchased hardware, SEED center will proceed with the installation process upon receipt of the required licenses from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA).
- Formation of a Community Based Cooperative Society
The SEED center conducted numerous capacity building activities, aimed at imparting knowledge to community members on the formation and management of a community based cooperative society. From the trainings, The Center assisted community members to register their cooperative society with the registrar of cooperative societies. The newly formed cooperative society bearing the name “Olderkesi-SEED Cooperative Society Limited” was successfully registered under the category of Marketing and Energy cooperative society. It will be responsible for the operations and maintenance of the mini-grid. Through the cooperative society, the community’s journey to socio-economic independence will be enhanced.
- Bilateral Collaboration with TUM Post Graduate Researchers
The Project Coordinator Receiving the first International Researcher
SEED Center has been able to institute and engage in successful bilateral collaboration with post graduate researchers from TUM (Technical University of Munich). As part of the JKUAT-TUM international collaboration enshrined in the German Academic Exchange Service Program (DAAD), post graduate researchers have received support from The Centre in data collection for various scholarly works and research. The SEED Centre will continue fostering the bilateral collaboration with researchers from TUM and other universities.
- Establishment of a collaboration between JKUAT and Narok County Government ministries
The center conducted an inter-sectorial meeting with various departments from the Narok County government. Its objective was to bring together different sectors towards adoption of utilization of renewable energy in off grid areas in the region.
The collaboration enabled SEED Centre to gain support towards the establishment of the Living Lab. This aided allocation of land, acquisition of approval of development plan and licenses for the establishment. The departments involved include; Department of Lands, Housing, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Department of Water, Energy, Environment & Natural Resources, Department of Trade, Industrialization & Cooperative Development, and Department of Finance and Economic Planning.
The center will continue partnering with the devolved government to enhance rural electrification and socio-economic development among the marginalized communities in the county.
- Beaconing of allocated land
Following the physical and geographical assessment of the allocated land, The SEED Center in partnership with surveyors from the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC) and Narok County Government’s ministry of lands and urban planning embarked in a beaconing exercise of the donated land. This involved the acquisition of the GPS data for the allocated land on consideration of the road reserves and the adjacent plots. The total allocated land for the project was 2 acres. Planning of the piece of land was also done so as to enhance utilization of space.
- Ground Breaking for Mini-Grid Installation
After several months of consultations and co-creation of the mini-grid with the project’s stakeholders, The SEED center in collaboration with the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC), Narok County Government – Ministry of renewable energy, and community members held a ground breaking ceremony on 9th December 2021. The ceremony flagged off the commencement of installation works of the mini-grid at Olderkesi trade center.
Through the living lab, the project will offer higher education at the intersection of sustainable energies and entrepreneurship, provide research opportunities to scholars, conduct training and capacity building to both researchers and community members as well as foster technology transfer.
- Commencement of installation works
Following a ground breaking event, The SEED center officially commenced installation works of the Living Lab. This entails the installation of the 28 PV solar panels and other hardware materials that will generate a 12 KWp energy supply for commercial usage.
To enhance the smooth involvement of all the stakeholders during the installation process, SEED project will actively promote the equal participation of the stakeholders. This include incorporation of local talents by the contractor during the installation process.
11. Tariff Sensitization meeting with EPRA
A crucial process towards the installation of a mini grid in Kenya is to obtain a license from Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA). In order to comply with the requirement, SEED Project made an application for a generation and distribution license as stipulated by the regulatory body. One of the steps taken by EPRA prior to licensing is to engage stakeholders regarding the project and the developed tariff to be used to be used at the mini-grid. In this regard, a stakeholder engagement took place on 3rd February 2022. In attendance were the members of the community, local leaders, Olderkesi SEED Co-operative Society members, representative from PowerPoint EA Ltd, JKUAT team, and a team from EPRA. This is one of the major steps in the licensing process of the mini grid for the SEED Centre.
12. Approval of Mini-grid Tariff
Following a successful application for approval of proposed tariff, the SEED Center got an approval from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) regarding the tariff for billing customers consuming energy from the mini-grid.
The target customers, who are mainly business proprietors in the trade center, will benefit from tariff charge that makes the energy affordable for their ventures. The SEED Center, in collaboration with other partners, will continue in educating target beneficiaries on efficient utilization of energy for economic development.
13. Completion of the Reticulation Network
Completed reticulation network at the Olderkesi trade center
Through a series of installation activities conducted in Olderkesi, The SEED center completed the process of installing the reticulation network in the local trade center. To ensure that the safety concerns of power distribution are fully addressed, the SEED center engaged in the testing phase of the electrical grid, prior to encouraging local consumption of the energy generated.
14. Awarding of research scholarship to PHD candidates
Mr. Harold Mate (holding the PhD scholarship award letter) posing for a photograph with the principle COHRED, Prof. Ishugah (on the left), the dean of SOBE, Prof. Florence Memba (in a black and red shirt) and management faculty from SOBE.
In a bid to fulfil the core objective of the SEED center, that is “to offer higher education at the intersection of sustainable energies and entrepreneurship and to conduct research in contributing to 2030 agenda for sustainable development”, the SEED center awarded PHD research scholarships to successful candidates. The scholarship will enhance the research activities in the living lab and overall, the SEED center.
15. Commissioning of the SEED Center’s Mini-grid
Prof. Kwanza (in red tie) after unveiling the commissioning plaque. He is joined by the Narok West Deputy County Commissioner, Mr. Duncan Darusi (in uniform), REREC’s Dr. Ishuga (in glasses) and the director of energy, Narok county government, Mr. Peter Cheborgei (in a brown suit.)
In the wake of several months of conducting the installation process, The SEED center in partnership with the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC), Narok County Government – Ministry of renewable energy, and community members held a mini-grid commissioning ceremony on 7th October 2022. The ceremony flagged off the commencement of electrification of enterprises located in the Olderkesi trade center.
The mini-grid will serve as a powerplant for energy provision to business units at the local trade center, as well as serve as a living lab for students pursuing higher education at the intersection of sustainable energies and entrepreneurship.