ABOUT THE MINISTRY OF ENERGY
The Ministry of Energy was formed in 1979 upon Kenya Government’s realization that energy was a major component in the country’s development process. This realization was mainly due to two oil price escalations of 1973/74 and 1979 resulted in the country spending relatively more foreign exchange to import oil. In 1974, the oil import bill was US$227 million, which was an increase of 244% over the 1973 value of US$66 million, while in 1980 it was US$763 million which was an increase of 90% over the 1979 value of US$402.
The new Ministry was assigned the following functions:
• Energy policy development
• Electric power development
• Oil and other fossil fuels exploration and development
• Exploration and exploitation of non-convention energy sources such as wind, biogas, solar, geothermal and wood fuel.
Prior to formation of the Ministry of Energy in 1979, energy sector issues were scattered over several ministries. The Ministry of Power and Communications was responsible for electricity development including the Rural Electrification Programme, Tana River Development Company, Kenya Power Company and pricing of power jointly with Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance was in charge of petroleum pricing and representation of government interests in the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources was responsible for wood fuel development and management. In addition, the National Council for Science and Technology set up a Committee for Energy Policy and Resources in 1975 whose role was to advise the government on energy policy problems, draft policy proposals and in general acted as the focal point for energy policy related issues.
The Committee in recognition of limitations it faced recommended in mid 1979, to the office of the President to set up an Energy department in the Ministry of Power and Communications, to serve as executive organ in government dealing with energy issues. However, before the department could be established, a fully fledged Ministry of Energy was formed in December, 1979 following a reorganization of the Kenya Government after the October, 1979 General Elections.
In 1983, the Ministry of Energy was merged with the Department of Regional Development of the Ministry of Regional Development, Science and Technology to form the Ministry of Energy and Regional Development. Its mandate was expanded to include regional development authorities whose portfolio covered a wide range of activities including agriculture, fishing, hydro power, etc. In 1988 there was a further re-organization that saw the Ministry being split into the Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Regional Development.
The Ministry is particularly charged with the following responsibilities:
• Energy policy development
• Hydropower development
• Geothermal exploration and development
• Thermal power development
• Petroleum products – import/export/marketing policy
• Renewable energy development
• Energy regulation, security and conservation
• Fossil fuels exploration and development
• Rural electrification Programme.
The Ministry also has an oversight role over service delivery by the following parastatals / statutory bodies in the energy sector:
• Kenya Power and Lighting Company Limited (KPLC)
• Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited (KPRL)
• Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited (KenGen)
• National Oil Corporation of Kenya (National Oil)
• Kenya Pipeline Company Limited (KPC)
• Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)
• Rural Electrification Authority (REA)
• Energy Tribunal
• Geothermal Development Company (GDC)
• Kenya Electricity Transmitting Company (KETRACO)
To enable it deliver on its mandate, the Ministry is structure has four core departments – Electrical Power Development Department, Geo-Exploration Department, Renewable Energy Department, Petroleum Energy Department, and other departments – General Administration Department, Central Planning & Project Monitoring Department, Finance Department, Accounts Department, Human Resource Management Department, Public Communications Department, Information Communications Technology Department, Human Resource Development Department and Procurement Department, providing support services