:: Specific Design Brief
Power - further information
PRODUCT DESIGN KENYA, SRI LANKA
are the practical possibilities for small-scale enterprise in Mbuiru?
The section examines the potential of the energy intervention for removing
constraints on the achievement of people's livelihood priorities. The community
will not be in a position to use electricity from the scheme for lighting their
homes via a direct distribution system due to legislative restrictions on the
sale of power.
As stated earlier, Kenya Power and Lighting Company is the only body authorised
to transmit and distribute power. Any other party that generates power can sell
it to Kenya Power and Lighting Company, unless the generated power is for the
exclusive use of the generating body. They will, however, be able to use
electricity for charging batteries to provide light and powering, for example,
TVs and radios. Electricity from the hydropower scheme will be transmitted to
the commercial and social centre.
The intention is that the community will run several micro-enterprises. Provided
markets are thoroughly researched and business plans made, these enterprises
could help provide people with new capabilities, including technological
capabilities, and generate income, reducing community vulnerability. The
availability of power is expected to trigger demand for training, especially in
technical areas such as welding and machine operation, as well as business
management and bookkeeping. Recalling the projected 14 kW limit to power as a
guide to possible combinations of activities, enterprises earmarked as
• Hand weaving, tailoring and basket making. The provision of electric
light would increase the hours that could be spent on theses activities or the
flexibility of operating times. The estimated power demand is only around 200
• Oil processing. Pressing sunflower seeds to produce oil and 'cake' (for
livestock feed) is potentially a very lucrative business. Estimated power demand
from 3 to 10kW, depending on scale of production.
• Flour grinding/ milling. A mill powered by micro-hydro generated
electricity is expected to provide a better, cheaper service than the current
diesel-powered mill. Power demand of possible mills ranges from 3 to 10kW
• Battery charging. There is a growing market for charging batteries as
more and more people come to own TVs, hi-fi, radios and cassette players.
Customers for this service may come from as far afield as Marimanti, 20 km away.
Power demand is 1kW or less.
• Refrigeration for Health Centres. A potential commercial option for the
community scheme. There are two health centres within 2 km of the proposed site
from where power will be transmitted. The power requirement of each clinic
ranges from 3 to 12kW
• Tobacco curing. This is an option for using excess energy generated
when the load factor is low, especially at night. It is technically more
efficient to locate the curing facility near the powerhouse. Power available
will depend on the plant load factor.
• Irrigation. This is a service that can only be carried out if there is
sufficient surplus water. Irrigation schemes require licensing by the Government
(for river water extraction). Water could be pumped to irrigate adjacent farms
and kitchen gardens and thus increase food production for consumption or sale.
The estimated power required is 1kW or less.
• Micro-enterprises. Welding, wood-work shops, barbers shops and
telephone booths have all been suggested as possibilities. Power required is up
• Water pumping for drinking water supply. Planning ahead, Mbuiru
community are installing pipes in anticipation of the micro-hydro scheme. Water
pumping requires less than 5kW
Apart from the enterprises themselves, secondary - or spin-off - employment is
likely in the processing, packaging and distribution of goods, as well as in
supply and support services. For new enterprises to be successful, Mbuiru
community will be obliged to interact with government institutions,
organisations and the private sector in order to meet legislative demands,
produce goods of the appropriate quality to suit markets, and for diverse other
reasons. Such interaction, provided it is supported in the initial stages, is
expected to develop and empower community institutions and organisations
LIVELIHOODS & MARKET