Title: Optimization-based modeling of Kenya's energy system for pathways towards access to secure, affordable, and sustainable energy services

University Thesis
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Global climate change is one of the most significant challenges that need urgent
action in this century. Energy production and consumption, particularly for heat and electricity
generation, account for the highest GHG emissions from anthropogenic activities. The world
energy demand is projected to increase as the population grows and efforts double to bridge the
demand-supply gap in countries yet to achieve universal access to modern energy services.
Currently, out of the 770 million people who lack access to electricity worldwide, 580 million live
in Africa, predominantly in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Using advanced energy planning tools to
guide national energy objectives and decisions will be critical in addressing energy poverty while
shifting to low-carbon fuels in Sub-Saharan Africa. Advanced energy planning tools have a
detailed technological representation, account for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and cost, and
assess low-carbon policies optimally. This work aims to develop a quantitative energy system
planning model for Kenya to evaluate pathways towards access to secure, affordable, and sustainable
energy services for the 2020 to 2050 period. This thesis is composed of three journal articles that
describe the outcome of this work. The first article reviews the existing integrated energy
modeling studies done for the Sub-Saharan Africa region at a country or regional level. The
reviewed studies show that the models, based on different mathematical approaches and
assumptions, inadequately addressed some fundamental energy themes, such as low-carbon policies and
energy cost. It is recommended that the SSA countries develop national-scale energy planning models
using advanced planning tools, which could be expanded into a regional model. The second article
develops a national-scale energy model for Kenya using the advanced bottom-up energy optimization
Integrated MARAKAL-EFOM (TIMES) framework. Using the developed Kenya-TIMES model, the study
assesses the environmental and techno- economic assessment of power system expansion for three
projected demand levels for Kenya for the 2020 to 2045 period. The results indicate that the
government will not meet its nationally determined contribution (NDC) GHG reduction targets in the
vision demand scenario without implementing low-carbon policies. The third article develops the
Kenya-TIMES model further to assess the low-carbon development strategies for Sub-Saharan Africa,
using the case of Kenya. This study evaluates the implication of the carbon tax, renewable energy
subsidy, renewable portfolio standards, and a hybrid of renewable subsidy and carbon tax policy
instruments on Kenya’s power generation expansion for 2020 to 2050 under vision demand level. The
GHG emissions are evaluated against Kenya’s NDC emission reduction targets. The results indicate
the evaluated low-carbon policy instruments
could help achieve emission cuts below the government’s NDC targets.

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