27th January 2017, will forever remain a very very sad day for the energy efficiency world.

Arthur Rosenfeld, the godfather of energy efficiency, passed away. Arthur was credited for creating the field of energy efficiency and saving billions of dollars through energy savings. He provided true leadership and inspired an entire generation of energy professionals to manage and conserve energy resources.

As we allow his soul to rest in peace, we are grateful for his efforts to create immense opportunities in the energy space. Across the global divide from big cities in California USA, to small villages in Arusha Tanzania, we can all benefit from energy efficiency.

Has energy efficiency died with Arthur? Not at all! Energy efficiency is the most abundant energy resource every country has. The International Energy Agency shows that even despite the drop in energy prices in 2016, energy efficiency continued to gain more ground. So more energy efficiency opportunities are expected even in 2017.

In 2016, we looked at 5 opportunities in the Kenyan energy efficiency market. This year, let’s look at 5 energy trends to look out for in the Kenyan energy market:

1.    Solar Hot Water Regulations

All over the world, energy policies and energy regulations have led to the greatest energy efficiency gains. This will be no different in Kenya. In May 2012, the Solar Hot Water regulations were established. These regulations stipulated that all premises with a daily hot water demand of more than 100 liters must install solar hot water systems.

The said premises were given up to 25th May 2017 to ensure that they comply. Failure to which they would face a one-year jail term or a Kshs. 1,000,000 ($10,000) fine. Having studied Kenyans for more than 30 years now, I am sure that come May 2017, there will be a mad rush to comply and therefore Solar Hot Water companies will be very busy. Watch that space closely…..

2.    Energy Management Regulations

Still on policy, this year we anticipate many more companies will conduct energy audits. The Kenyan energy regulator, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), has been at the forefront in ensuring that high-energy consumers (using more than 15,000 kwh per month) comply with the regulations.

Kenya Association of Manufacturers has also greatly subsidized the cost of energy audits to ensure many facilities can afford to pay for quality energy audit services. The Association of Energy Professionals East Africa is working with Kenya Bureau of Standards to set professional standards for the energy management market. With all these activities around energy management, energy auditing companies will be busy. They need to be prepared for  this…

3.    Implementation of Energy Projects

After conducting an energy audit most companies are propelled by the need to at least implement an energy project or two to increase their efficiencies. Given that the cost of electricity went up because of the use of thermal plants to generate electricity, more energy consumers feel the pressure to find ways to reduce on their energy costs. Implementation companies for Power Quality, Solar Photovoltaic, Efficient Lighting, Variable Speed Drives and Automation will find increased activity. They need to be ready to take these on……

4.    Training and Awareness

An impact assessment conducted in 2014 by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers revealed that about 45% of companies that had conducted energy audits, required more training to be able to implement a successful energy management program. I would imagine that the actual figure would be higher, but 45% is still significant.

Energy Efficiency is not only about technology but also more about the people. People interacting with energy need to be aware of opportunities available to enable them use the resource better. They need to be trained, developed and equipped to manage energy.

There has been an increase in Certified Energy Manager training being done in Kenya over the last 2 years. This year we expect more energy management trainings to be conducted as a way of creating awareness and career growth. Energy training providers need to take note…..

5.    Water Management

Water is Energy. As I pen this reflection on energy, Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, is facing 4 months of water rationing. Water audits conducted in some Kenyan Water Companies reveal up to 70% of the treated water cannot be accounted for. It all goes to destination nowhere!

We are witnessing way too much waste due to poor water management and that’s possibly why there is not enough water in the country’s capital. Water companies are in need of better water management technology and skills to ensure the country always has sufficient water both for their hydro plants as well as consumption. Companies with systems to better manage water have an opportunity to thrive. Water management is the next energy frontier…..

Kenya’s energy space is taking on a very interesting dimension and there a numerous opportunities to explore and exploit to ensure efficiencies. These 5 areas however, stand out significantly and should be at the forefront of energy discussions in 2017. Let’s all do our part to ensure an energy efficient Kenya and let’s keep the energy discussions energetic all year round.

Bio of Writer;

Chris Mbori is the Managing Director of Eenovators Limited. He is a CEM, CMVP and a Licensed Energy Auditor in Kenya. He has over 7 years experience in the Energy Industry. You can reach him through cmbori@eenovators.com