Hybrid Power System Options for Off-Grid Rural Electrification in Northern Kenya


For domestic consumers in the rural areas of northern Kenya, as in other developing countries, the typical source of electrical supply is diesel generators. However, diesel generators are associated with both CO2 emissions, which adversely affect the environment and increase diesel fuel prices, which inflate the prices of consumer goods. The Kenya government has taken steps towards addressing this issue by proposing The Hybrid Mini-Grid Project, which involves the installation of 3 MW of wind and solar energy systems in facilities with existing diesel generators. However, this project has not yet been implemented. As a contribution to this effort, this study proposes, simulates and analyzes five different configurations of hybrid energy systems incorporating wind energy, solar energy and battery storage to replace the stand-alone diesel power systems servicing six remote villages in northern Kenya. If implemented, the systems proposed here would reduce Kenya’s dependency on diesel fuel, leading to reductions in its carbon footprint. This analysis confirms the feasibility of these hybrid systems with many configurations being profitable. A Multi-Attribute Trade-Off Analysis is employed to determine the best hybrid system configuration option that would reduce diesel fuel consumption and jointly minimize CO2 emissions and net present cost. This analysis determined that a wind-diesel-battery configuration consisting of two 500 kW turbines, 1200 kW diesel capacity and 95,040 Ah battery capacity is the best option to replace a 3200 kW stand-alone diesel system providing electricity to a village with a peak demand of 839 kW. It has the potential to reduce diesel fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 98.8%.

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Lukuyu, J. and Cardell, J. (2014) Hybrid Power System Options for Off-Grid Rural Electrification in Northern Kenya. Smart Grid and Renewable Energy, 5, 89-106. doi: 10.4236/sgre.2014.55009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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