Category Archives: Advisory

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3 Tips for aspiring Energy Engineers

It’s now six months since I last posted on this blog. It’s been a busy half year with lots of new development. One of the new developments has been formation of a new company called Pisu Energy Services Africa Ltd (PESA Ltd.) The company focuses on Energy Efficiency Projects, Energy Audits and Power Generation Projects. So far, we are moving on well. You can check out more about PESA Ltd at  www.pesaltd.com

I have been getting new readers on the blog, most of them young graduates who want to take energy engineering as a career. Last week, I received the following question from one of my readers;

Hi Chris,

 I am Steve and just completed my degree in Mechanical Engineering (Industrial Plant and Energy Engineering option) from the Technical University of Kenya  with a passion in Energy could you please help me how i can go about to succeed in this field.

 Thanks

Kind Regards

Stephen

It feels good to see many young engineers wanting to venture into the energy world with a passion to succeed. I would advise Stephen to do the following as a start;

1.Get your Certified Energy Manager (CEM) Certification

It’s great to have CEM certification if you are to make it in the energy world. I did mine about 3 years ago and the opportunities have been unlimited. This certification is offered with the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). You can visit their website to find out more information. In Kenya, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, KAM, do offer this certification in partnership with the AEE. This year, 2014, they will have a session in June and October. Contact Beatrice.kithinji@kam.co.ke for more information.

2.Connect with other Energy Engineers

We normally joke that “it’s not WHAT you know but WHO you know”. From my experience, it not only a joke but to some extend a reality. Nothing propels you forward more than having the right connections. You need to know and associate with colleagues in the energy sector. It’s good you made this initiative to connect with me and I think you can do more to connect with others. Use LinkedIn, energy forums, energy events to build your network. You can also attend webinars online, listen to podcasts and improve your digital presence to connect with the right people both locally and internationally.

3.Build your practical skills

You are just from university with a lot of theoretical knowledge. Try getting more practical experience by working with other energy engineers on projects. The best way to do this is to find mentors in the field you are interested in and ask them if you can lend some help while learning. I personally did my first 7 energy audits for free to just get some experience. It probably was the best thing I did back then and it has paid back a thousand fold. It won’t hurt if you help for free at your free time. If someone is willing to pay the better for you. Both ways you win.

Just remember that values like integrity, good work ethic, positive mental attitude and creativity still count on your path to success. I know there is a lot more one can do. If any of the readers has more suggestions, kindly add them at comment section for Stephen.

5 things to look out for about Kenya’s energy efficiency market

5 things to look out for

Written by Chris Mbori

2015 was the big year for the energy efficiency market in Kenya. This was largely because the rush to beat the energy management regulations 2012’s deadline. This regulation states that any designated facility ( one that consumes more than 180,000kWh per annum) to comply to a set of regulations.

Some of the designated facilities that needed to comply with the regulations rushed to undertake an energy audit and comply. With the deadline now gone and no much action in the market since, is there still any opportunity in the energy efficiency market in Kenya? I believe there still do exist. Here are five reasons I think will create opportunities in 2016;

Compliance will still be a need;

I don’t think we are done with compliance of energy management regulations 2012. The last time I checked, only about 600 designated facilities that had done the energy audit. More than 3000 designated facilities had still not complied. Word is that the regulator is planning serious surprises for the non-compliant energy consumers. If the regulator will act, we shall definitely see a more vibrant market in 2016.

Implementation of energy efficiency projects;

There will be a great need for high energy consumers to implement the energy efficiency measures recommended by energy audit firms. Already we are seeing business taking an ESCO approach to help designated consumers easily implement energy efficiency projects. These ESCO companies fully finance and implement the projects only to be paid from the savings gained. A good example is ICOPOWER that uses this approach for voltage optimization projects. They have already installed dozens of these optimizers to interested clients.

Training;

Since the energy efficiency market is growing, there is a strong need for training that will help equip professionals with the right skills needed in the market. Already Kenya Association of Manufactures and Association of Energy Professionals are conducting the CEM course. The designated energy users also need awareness training that will help them implement the energy efficiency recommendations and set up sustainable energy management systems.

Solar thermal/ Solar Hot Water;

The solar hot water market is largely driven by compliance. Already there is a regulation that requires any facility that uses more than 100 litres of hot water to install a solar hot water system that gives at least 60% of their hot water demand. The regulation aims at new and existing buildings. For existing buildings, the deadline is 2017. New buildings are not connected to the electricity grid unless they comply. Besides the regulations, the solar hot water market offers great energy savings and is a no brainer to anyone using electricity to heat water. Paybacks are less than a year. This makes it an attractive investment in our sun-rich Kenya.

Solar Photo Voltaic (PV);

With the cost of Solar PV coming down and more financing mechanisms in place for Solar PV projects, there is going to be more uptake of solar generated electricity in Kenya this year. Besides, there are companies that offer leases for the Solar PV systems. One good example is Nvision. They use the Build Own Operate Transfer model to supply electricity from solar and sell it to the client at a rate cheaper that Kenya Power. This approach has endered them to many clients as it guarantees a near zero risk and direct cost savings in electricity charges.

The opportunities are probably not limited to above. Anyone energy business that will add value to clients will definitely have a great 2016. In energy efficiency, value is to reduce energy cost, cut on consumption, reduce carbon emissions and definitely, in Kenya, compliance to the regulations.

Bio of Writer;

Chris Mbori is a Technical Director at Eenovators Limited. He is a CEM, CMVP and a Licensed Energy Auditor in Kenya. He has over 6 years experience in the Energy Industry having done over 100 energy audits in the last 2 years. You can reach him through cmbori@eenovators.com

Energy Regulations 2012 Compliance

The 6 Steps

When you are in Kenya, you either pay the bill for the all drinks you have had with friends or all your drinks get paid for with one of your more moneyed friends.

That is pretty much the culture here. So a few weeks ago, when a friend from Britain invited me for a drink at Sankara Hotel to discuss to discuss Kenya’s energy regulations 2012, I was shocked when he left and only paid for his two drinks. Luckily I had “backup” to pay for my bill though it pretty much left my pocket dented.

From our discussion, my British friend was more amazed as to how stringent the energy regulations were in Kenya. In fact to him, Kenya’s regulations were the most stringent he has ever seen and also offered the most opportunity for the energy industry. He left me pondering on why exactly he felt so and so the last two weeks I have looked deeply into the regulations and attended a few meetings on the same.

Earlier this week I was invited for a stakeholder’s meeting by ERC on the energy regulations. The main agenda was to look at how we can develop an energy curriculum to ensure that we license more energy auditors. Currently, we only have 16 licensed energy auditors. The country would need at least 300 energy auditors to audit the more than 3000 facilities that have comply with the energy regulations.  Most facilities affected with this regulations are currently not aware of these yet they are required to comply with the regulations before 2015. If a facility consumes more than 180,000 kWh of both Electrical and Thermal Energy, they it must be compliant with the energy regulations.

To be compliant you have to follow the following six simple steps;

  1. Conduct an Energy Audit once in 3 years. You must submit the report at least six months before the end of your financial year.
  2. Set up an energy management committee and designate an energy officer.
  3. Develop an energy policy that must be submitted to ERC for approval
  4. Develop an Energy Investment Plan after the energy audit. This should also be submitted  at least six months before the end of the financial year
  5. Submit Annual Implementation Report to show your level of implementation of the energy audit recommendations
  6. Record your monthly electricity, water and Fuel bills for a period of at least 5yrs

Compliance basically starts with an energy audit. The energy audit must be done by a licensed ERC energy auditor who will also help in developing the energy management strategy and energy investment plan.

My British friend was more amazed by the penalties involved. Failure to comply with the regulation will attract the following penalties

  1. One year imprisonment for the facility head
  2. One million Kenya Shillings fine
  3. Thirty Thousand shilling per day for delay in submission of the implementation report

This regulations are a carrot and stick approach to compliance. The carrot being that the facility will save energy and reduce its cost while the stick being the penalties. Our energy regulator, ERC, is currently working hard to ensure compliance with these regulations.

3 Opportunities You Are Probably Missing Out On…

Let’s start with some good news today. I passed my ERC oral interviews and was awarded a class A Energy Auditor’s License! It is a great feeling to pass. For now, I guess there only 13 licensed energy auditors in our entire country. This is can be a good thing and at the same time a bad thing.

The bad thing is that this number is not sufficient to carry out “legal” energy audits in the entire country,  while the good thing is that this shows a great potential of opportunity in the energy auditing industry. There is so much space for more licensed energy auditors!

ERC Licensed Energy Auditors
ERC licenced Energy Auditors

So why aren’t C.E.M’s and other Energy Professionals in Kenya getting licensed? Is it that we lack such professionals in the country? Or is it the lack of awareness about the ERC regulations? I would not agree with the former, since the last time I checked, Kenya Association of Manufacturers had trained about 70 C.E.Ms. They are currently training about 15 more at their annual Certified Energy Manager Training.

If the problem is with awareness, then I would simply urge you to pursue any of the ERC licenses as it probably would be a game changer in the Kenyan energy industry. This is why I think the ERC regulations offer multiple future business opportunities for companies and individuals;

Energy Auditing Business

This will probably offer the greatest opportunity for energy consultants. The regulations stipulate that a facility owner or occupier shall undertake an energy audit at least once every three year. For the audits to be legally recognized, they must be done with a licensed energy auditor. So if as an energy auditor you do not have a license, get one to legalize your energy audits. For organizations that want to do energy audits as a business service, all you need is a licensed energy auditor as part of your employees.

Distribution and Sale of Solar Panels

The ERC regulations requires all facilities using more than 100 liters of hot water per day to install and use solar water heating systems. There are a lot of facilities that use more that this capacity per day, a good number of them being hotels. It is now a mandatory requirement for both the Solar Water Heater and Solar PV distributers to get license from ERC. So if you are in the distribution or manufacturing industry of solar panels, get your papers right and you will have a head start in the Kenyan Energy Market.

Training

With every new set of rules and regulations, comes with it training.  The industry is largely unaware of the nitty gritty of the energy regulations. Training organizations like Viscar Industrial Capacity or Kenya Association of Manufacturers are likely to capitalize on this. I am aware that ERC may also involve other organizations and consultants to deliver their awareness programs on the recent regulations.

So you are not licensed yet? Go for the license. Visit the ERC licensing portal and start processing your license. Currently, ERC is still conducting licensing for Energy Auditors, Solar Technicians, Electricians, Electrical Power Producers and Petroleum & LPG license. We are living in a highly competitive world where very small differences determine between a winner and a loser. This license could just be that determinant in the energy industry. You just might not know what opportunities you are missing without it….