For many years hams have been using Motorola commercial radios modified for amateur radio use. Since the commercial changeover to narrow-b

WhatsApp Image 2019-11-14 at 12.10.59

and some years ago a great deal of the now unusable commercial equipment is now available to the amateur community with Africa(specifically east and central Africa ). One of the sticking points of using these radios has been the programming which required access to the software and more importantly a computer and hardware that was able to do it. It was widely accepted that you would need an old slow computer with a dedicated ser

ial port to do this and trying anything else either did not work or was very finicky. Most would either not have the software or proper hardware. Because of this,i have tried to implemented a novel approach that should work consistently using a Raspberry Pi for all my east and central africa people, the hamvoip software, and a couple of inexpensive cables. This works on the hamvoip Archlinux installation and can be used in conjunction with a running Allstar system in fact I have used a node on the same server while I was programming without any problems. This also could add the ability to program a radio at a remote site without being there.

The ham voip programming package uses dosbox a program t

o simulate MSDOS. The Raspberry Pi is an excellent platform to do this as it is readily available and provides a consistent environment to run the code. Because it was not desirable to install the entire graphics package in the hamvoip installation, which would be necessary to run DOSBOX directly on the Pi, we instead do X11 forwarding to an X11 server where the program is displayed. The Motorola programming packages run under this MSDOS environment. All timings and configurations have been preset and so far have worked with all tested radios. Be aware that this uses a supplied custom compiled dosbox which works with the FTDI controller to supply the required custom baudrates that the Motorola radios require.

You could remotely program a radio at a distant site using these methods.Some users may want to use a dedicated non-Allstar Pi to do the programming. It is cheap enough to dedicate another Pi. You can disable the loading of Allstar by commenting the “/usr/local/etc/rc.allstar” line in /etc/rc.local. Putting a # at the beginning of this line comments it. In addition you can disable the Admin menu by commenting the “exec /usr/local/sbin/” line in /root/.bash_profile. It is the last line in the file. Reboot after making these changes. When you login to your programming Pi you will now go directly to the Linux prompt where you can type “dosbox”

The application works equally well on a Pi2 although noticeably slower. A good use for your old Pi2’s.


Felt like sharing to uplift the lives of my people as we strive day in day out to make our EMEA region better……The next tech revolution is coming from my mother continent.


Author:Samwel Kariuki

14th Nov 2019

Last month, I decided to use my birthday money on a useful expedition with an aim of reviewing our rural electrification programs and projects based on ofWhatsApp Image 2019-04-29 at 18.32.21f-grid Photovoltaic (PV) systems, including Solar Pico Systems (SPS) and Solar Home Systems (SHS). My goal was to highlight the main multidimensional drawbacks that may constrain the sustainability of these systems in some part of our country.

Four dimensions of sustainability (institutional, economic, environmental and socio-cultural) formed part of my assessments on the 2 week expedition.  I also found that institutional flaws (such as the scarcity of durability/stability and enforcement of formal institutions, weak regulations or standards, incomplete decentralization/participation and the lack of institutional adaptability) seriously compromise the sustainability of rural electrification efforts in some marginalized counties within our republic. While the lack of an effective  focalized subsidy scheme (e.g., cross-tariff scheme) for the electricity tariffs  of the poor population often made some projects  economically unsustainable, the scarcity  of environmental awareness, regulations or incentives has often  turned presumably clean energy technologies into environmentally unsustainable projects.  Progress regarding social acceptance, accuracy and cultural justice is urgently needed for ensuring the socio-cultural sustainability of rural electrification efforts in all the 14 counties year marked under KOSAP.

My assessment after visiting Taita Taveta,Kwale and Machakos have  shown that  sustainable off-grid PV systems require strengthened formal institutions, which are characterized by their  stability (durability) and  their  enforcement. Sadly in our country, these two factors tend to be low, which is problematic for the sustainability of off-grid PV systems. The adoption of a regulatory frame (including technical standards) and the existence of a regulatory agency tend to favor the sustainability of rural electrification efforts based on off-grid PV systems. However, prior experiences have shown that the enforcement of these formal institutions strongly depends on informal institutions. For instance, informal corruptive behavior is a substantial issue for the sustainability of rural electrification efforts in any marginalized county.  The international experience suggests that ensuring the PV system’s sustainability requires paying attention to forming or adopting formal institutions, as well as ensuring their enforcement.

Centralized formal institutions may lead to inappropriate rural electrification solutions that are not adapted to the users’ needs.  Decentralization is meant to facilitate adaptability and a participative decision-making, thus enhancing the chances of a technology to meet the needs of the population. However, decentralization may also increase the risk of weak coordination between local and national governments and the lack of expert know-how (often not available in remote areas).

The lack of expert know-how is related to significant gaps in the educational system since local universities often do not have proper capacities to generate this knowledge. The lack of technicians has led to poor implementations (e.g., causing shadowing or the wrong size of cables), the use of uncertified materials and to under-sizing (due to erroneous power capacity estimations). A prioritization of capacity building as  a long-term goal  is therefore critical  for  enhancing the sustainability of off-grid  PV systems. This idea can well be picked up by Strathmore university center of renewable energies together with our regulatory body EPRA (formerly ERC).

For an electrification solution in Kenya to be sustainable, it also needs to be affordable and cost effective. Although off-grid PV systems are a cost-effective electrification solution in  the  case  of disperse Populations with low per capita energy consumption, government often favor costly conventional energy sources over RE. The unavailability of financial products (e.g., microcredits) and the higher initial investment of PV systems make  off-grid PV systems unattainable for rural households in these 14 counties and often force the poor population in rural  areas to choose costly (and therefore, unsustainable) solutions.

The economic sustainability of off-grid PV systems aimed at poor rural populations in the marginalized communities may require policy intervention, which means allocating public funds for covering both the initial investment and the O&M of the systems.  Numerous project failures can be related to the lack of funds for covering O&M or their underestimation. Therefore, assuring the sustainability of the off-grid  PV systems requires an effective  focalized subsidy scheme (e.g., cross-tariff scheme) for the electricity tariffs of poor population (such that all O&M are covered).

Although electrification is expected to contribute to a higher income of the users, several cases worldwide show that  the  provision of electricity does  not  automatically lead  to productive uses. Part of the problem arises  from the lack of user know-how and  proper training on the different uses of electricity, which demands for interdisciplinary projects involving cross-sectorial collaboration (for example, with the ministry of education or a similar  institution).

Due to their relatively low environmental impact, PV technologies for rural electrification yield long-term benefits in terms of pollution abatement and climate change mitigation. However, the lack of environmental awareness and policies (for example, on ensuring recycling and proper disposal of PV modules and batteries) has led to environmental co-impacts. These lessons shows that even presumably clean technologies may become environmentally unsustainable in the context of the scarcity of environmental awareness and regulations, weak enforcement of regulations and the lack of incentives.

Off-grid PV systems offer an alternative for greater equity as they may provide energy access to the vulnerable population (e.g., women or indigenous people) where a grid connection would  not be viable. However, energy solutions should be designed accurately (i.e., according to the socio-cultural reality of the users).  Inaccurate systems (unable  to meet the actual  energy demand) often lead to unsatisfied users and,  in turn, unsustainable solutions. Meeting the villagers of Kinango,Shimba hills,Msambweni,Wundanyi,Makindu and Wote showed me  that  understanding the rural  lifestyle is needed to tailor a technology and improving the accuracy, reducing in turn  rejection and deception.

For an energy system to be sustainable, it needs to be socially accepted, which implies the active participation and engagement of the community aimed at enhancing the accountability of the project. Compared to large-scale solutions, small-scale energy approaches may have a higher social acceptance. However, a lack of communication concerning the applications and limitations of off-grid PV systems can lead to false expectations and negative perceptions, thus constraining their social acceptance. Prior experiences from the off grid projects I have undertaken show that in order to avoid social issues (envy, stealing, etc.), participation needs  to include all interest groups of the community.

Sustainable energy solutions should be designed respecting the cultural habits and values of local population. Unfortunately, the culture of small rural communities is often not considered in the execution of public policies. Sustainable energy  solutions for small rural  communities require better  understanding the community, i.e., how decisions are made,  their culture, interests and habits. Progress regarding social acceptance, accuracy and cultural justice is urgently needed for ensuring the socio-cultural sustainability of rural electrification efforts in these counties seeking off grid solutions today and in years to come.

My reviewed efforts on rural electrification have shown that ensuring sustainability requires an integrated and multidimensional approach. Although the dimensions of sustainability (institutional, economic, environmental and socio-cultural) are strongly interwoven and are deeply interdependent, prior experiences have underlined the importance of paying special attention to the institutional dimension. Indeed, the absence of strengthened and sustainable formal institutions appears to be a major drawback,  by inhibiting law enforcement, compromises the environmental and socio-cultural sustainability of rural  electrification efforts, particularly in our Kenyan rural  areas.


Author: Samwel Kariuki

Co-founder (

Building information modeling needs to support Kenya’s ambitious clean energy development plans to position the nation as a leading global player in major energy infrastructure projects across Africa.Kenya’s energy sector is undergoing a radical PHOTO-2019-01-18-12-13-29transformation driven by policies engendered by the country’s vision 2030 and the big 4 agendas at hand. Although we are still in our nascent stages in renewable energy installations, Kenya is accelerating its shift to more efficient and less polluting power technologies, such as nuclear hopefully by 2024. This domestic transition is also underway with a view to export markets for energy technology, as we aim to stamp our authority on the global energy sector.

Drive for Efficiency, Reliability, and Stability

Giant hydro projects like the gitaru, kindaruma and kiambere are relatively well known even outside of Kenya, but to deliver that national mandate; we need to see many renewable energy projects being built. Now, projects are also increasingly being focused on expanding Kenya’s clean energy capacity by enabling other types of low-emission energy production. One key technology that can support variable output renewables like wind and solar is pumped storage hydropower. Pumped storage forms a major plank of Kenya’s future energy complex because it is able to respond to variations in supply and demand in just a few seconds.

Demands for Efficient Design

Large infrastructure projects and the growing complexity of modern, more distributed, and variable energy networks is evidently placing increasing demands  on us the designers and developers of energy infrastructure.  Building information modeling (BIM) is a relatively new concept to the energy industry here in Kenya that can make a dramatic impact on such developments. BIM methodology is an intelligent model-based process that integrates all relevant information required for planning, design, construction, and operation.

Efficiency is an important aspect in the industry, with Kenyan power producers looking for ways to cut costs. Using a BIM approach will cut down capital costs as well as reduce design and construction times, helping these Kenyan power producers meet their goals. While major engineering projects like large hydropower installations can benefit from BIM, more distributed renewable energy generation projects can also take advantage of the benefits it offers. And, although increasing power demand will see far more thermal capacity built in Kenya over the coming decade, efficiency and specific outputs of emissions like NOx and SOx per unit of energy produced will likely improve through the deployment of combined heat and power (CHP) and technologies such as supercritical and ultra-supercritical steam condition power plants. While modern thermal plants are incredibly efficient and much cleaner than their predecessors, combined heat and power applications are the most energy efficient and therefore produce the maximum usable energy for each kilogramme of pollution emitted. As Kenyan engineers, there needs to bring real effort in boosting the use of CHP energy technologies as a result.

**Find attached 2017-2037 Kenya’s Power Development Plans.**


Development and digitization have touched nearly every corner of the globe, and that means even in remote locations within our country, electricity remains a lifeline and information on line conditions and efficiency are critical. I would wishLCYL2495.JPG for KPLC to see how Schneider Electric has helped reduce time-consuming field visits for power meter reading and calibration with upgraded meters capable of remotely monitoring ongoing power quality conditions, leading to reduced maintenance costs and improved reliability.

Stricter energy efficiency and sustainability regulations can be met by IoT innovations that are converging to create intelligent buildings that minimize energy use while optimizing the performance and lifespan of physical assets. Smart device connectivity as demonstrated by able entities like GE, Safaricom, Huawei, and IBM east Africa, can now reach across an entire facility, integrating power, building, asset and maintenance systems. As a people (and I talk to the innovative Kenyan millennials) we can and should learn how have IoT-enabled devices throughout our facility’s infrastructure……this is highly valuable in achieving our ultimate goal of having efficient ways of managing our energy usage in years ahead.

We have seen the speed of technology adoption accelerate across multiple industries. Between 2007 and 2017, the world’s largest companies have shifted. The future of design and collaboration is also changing. Jump ahead 20 years to see how virtual, crowd-sourced design may reshape the electrical distribution industry. I have embarked on taking a new course that involves BIM processes to learn new ways of doing electrical designs in a more efficient and manageable way……..I urge any upcoming Kenyan electrical and design engineer to spare a plate for BIM (not Babes In Matatus) but Building Information and Modeling processes. This is the new way!


Happy holidays to all as we march forward to a new year of embracing SDG7.

Today, we live in a dynamic and turbulent global community. The term “smart” has been used widely, for example, smartphones, smart cars, smart homes, smart infrastructure, smart cities, smart countries, and the like. The term “smart” (at least according to me) represents the concept of hope and aspiration that depends on a person’s perspective. The smart state depends on the given condition, environment, culture, and the person’sWhatsApp Image 2018-10-30 at 12.44.46 value system. Nevertheless, the general concept of a smart future for our mother country should mean a living environment which is much better than the current state of affairs. The smart future should be where innovation would help develop intelligent solutions to complex problems to secure a humane environment. In such a smart future, Kenyans can more freely pursue opportunities to learn and grow, be engaged in good relationships, be happy with the community and work place, and also have a comfortable and healthy life style with adequate financial resources. Creating such a smart future requires much more than just smart gadgets, advanced technologies, convergence strategies, and government support. It requires a fabric of soft innovations that can nurture an aspirational future such as social justice, rule of law, transparency, accountability, cohesive collective wisdom of people, and shared visions and goals. The efforts to create a smart future require innovative ideas to leverage ubiquitous digital connectivity, smart sensors, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), access to all human knowledge, and entrepreneurship to capture opportunities for the best quality of life.


Requirements of a smart future

While a smart future is the aspirational target of most individuals, organizations, governments, and even countries, it simply does not just appear as wished. There are many requirements to pursue and realize a smart future. I personally propose the following seven essentials (not that am a guru in smart entrepreneurship or evangelism).


Smart people – In the dynamic global environment, with rapidly advancing technologies and knowledge, a smart future required well educated and trained.


Smart leadership – Today’s effective leaders are not just tough decision makers, charismatic personalities, and good communicators. They must be capable of co-creating shared vision and goals with others for collective wisdom and discipline.


Smart governments – In the digital age, governments are not the institutions that govern and control citizens. Citizens are intelligent with all sorts of information through advanced ICTs. Smart governments must facilitate citizen participation in co-creating a safe country with accountability, transparency, rule of law, and social justice that are universally applied. The key for sustainable economic growth and political stability is the disciplined government which is trusted and connected.



Smart infrastructure – A smart future requires efficient systems of citizen safety and privacy, public transport management, electric grid, clean water, environment monitoring, waste management, security of ICT and the like.


Smart industries – In the digital age, smart industries must be proactive about digital transformation to provide customers with customers with goods and services that they want or will need.


Smart healthcare and education systems – The two areas that will likely see the most drastic changes in the future will be healthcare and education.


Smart homes and autos –In the digital age, with the support of smart people, leadership, governments, and infrastructure, homes should be equipped with advanced ICT, closed-circuit TV (CCTV), sensors, smart security systems, self-learning systems, and the like. Already Google, Apple, and Tesla are working on smart self-driving cars. These innovations will greatly change the quality of life in a smart future

For our country to survive and prosper, innovation is imperative. However, innovation is no longer just for creating value to benefit individuals, organizations, or societies. The ultimate purpose of innovation should be much more far reaching. Thus, innovation must search for intelligent solutions to tackle major social ills, seek more proactive approaches to predict the uncertain future, and pursue strategies to remove barriers to the smart future.


Our Kenyan energy requirements are continuously increasing. Conventional methods of producing more energy to meet this growth pose a great threat to the environment. Carbon emissions and other bi-products of energy production and distribution processes have dire consequences. Efficient use of energy is one of the main tools to restrain WhatsApp Image 2018-09-28 at 10.03.30energy consumption growth without compromising on Kenyan’s big 4 agenda. Improving energy efficiency requires understanding of the usage patterns and practices by our very own KPLC; the firm we have trusted to maintain and manage our power lines. I stand corrected but I strongly believe smart energy grids, pervasive computing, and communication technologies will enable the stakeholders in our energy industry to collect large amounts of useful and highly granular energy usage data. This data which will be generated in large volumes and in a variety of different formats will depend on its purpose and systems used to collect it(so far there is improvement shown by KPLC engineering team after acquisition of an oracle M8 super cluster). The volume and diversity of data will also increase with time. All these data characteristics refer to the application of Big Data(a new field am passionate about and always eager to delve deeper into understand more).

My main plea is to the ministry of energy, relevant power/energy stakeholders and NGOs to focus on harnessing the power of Big Data tools and techniques such as MapReduce and Apache Hadoop ecosystem tools to collect process and analyze energy data and generate insights that can be used to improve our country’s energy efficiency. Furthermore, they should includes studying energy efficiency to formulate the use cases, study Big Data technologies (Strathmore university in partnership with IBM is currently offering such a course) to present a conceptual model for an end-to-end Big Data analytics platform, implementation of a part of the conceptual model with the capacity to handle energy efficiency use cases and performing data analysis to generate useful insights.

For the folks at KPLC handling the awesome M8, your analysis should be performed on two data sets. The first data set should contained hourly consumption of electricity consumed by a set of different buildings. The data will be analyzed to discover the seasonal and daily usage trends. The analysis should also include the classification of buildings on the basis of energy efficiency while observing the seasonal impacts on this classification. We can start off with Nairobi as a test trial and gradually establish foot prints to other cities and towns across the country. The analysis should be used to build a model for segregating the energy inefficient buildings from energy efficient buildings. The second data set should contain device level electricity consumption of various home appliances used in an apartment-I know this is a long shot for most Kenyans will not be able to afford such smart intelligent devices but we can come up with a pay-off program to enable smart meters be easily accessible . This data will or should be used to evaluate different prediction models to forecast future consumption on the basis of previous usage. The main purpose of this small write-up is to challenge our ministry, energy key players and young Kenyan engineers to provide the basis for enabling data driven decision making in organizations(both public and private) working to improve energy efficiency.

Just as Wangari Mathai made us proud by championing for the conservation of our environment, I firmly and positively believe we can still do the very same of sustaining SDG 7 and make her dream carry on to the next generation.


Urbanization is a powerful driver of economic development and social mobility. It is also
catalyst for technological progress, as we see in cities globally. Kenya is no exception. We
are already home to the world’s fastest-growing cities. It is estimated that half of Africans will be living in cities by 2030. This irreversible trend is fundamWhatsApp Image 2018-09-12 at 09.05.54entally positive for our continent’s prosperity.
But as young promising innovative Kenyan millennials,we all have to think ahead;with or without the big 4 agenda. It is up to us to plan adequately for urban expansion by anticipating the higher standard of public services, housing, livability, and economic opportunity that our grand sons and daughters expect and deserve.Lets use our institutions,societies,groups and regulated bodies to provide every young aspiring Kenyan with an overview of what they have prepared for us as a nation,the challenges they foresee and the road map they would otherwise opt for if such an initiative was to kick off earlier than expected(STEM is catching up so fast in this 4.0 gen).
My key message to our government,NGOs,private sectors and any other key players(both local and international) is to integrate available technology at every level of urban management(A case study being what IBM is currently involved in to improve Nairobi city-Information dashboards powered by real-time sensors and data analytics can help to deliver better services at lower cost). But technology is not a panacea, and it does not run on auto-pilot.To get the cities we want, i humbly urge the government and all other stakeholder interested in improving the blueprint of Kenya as a smart country to always keep the young millennials at the center of its efforts.Technology alone cannot do that for us.
However,the ‘smart cities’ framework should powerfully focuses our attention on the factors that make a city conducive to growth, health, and sustainability. It should also
offers a platform to bring all stakeholders together to find the best solutions. Crucially, these technologies also provide new ways to track progress toward the goals we set(again,big 4 or otherwise), and for us as a younger vibrant generation to contribute actively to the process along the way.
Transforming Kenyan cities will transform Africa as a whole with time……i firmly believe so. We have the means and the knowledge to do things differently and better — in a word, smartly.
Let’s come together to make it happen………summoning all Kenyan engineers to be at the fore front of this noble nifty call.
Authored & Compiled by: Samwel Kariuki
12th Sept 2018

The noise about the next big thing can make it difficult to identify which technologies truly matter. I will attempt to sort through the many claims to identify the technologies that have the greatest potential to drive substantial economic impact a01e92d4c5acb2beabab043bffd1baf4f7d913bb0cend disruption before or by 2030(our country’s vision set plan). Important technologies can come in any field or emerge from any scientific discipline, but they share four characteristics: high rate of technology change, broad potential scope of impact, large economic value that could be affected, and substantial potential for disruptive economic impact.

Many technologies have the potential to meet these criteria eventually, but our leaders(CS Mr.Mucheru of ICT) needs to focus on technologies with potential impact that is near enough at hand to be meaningfully anticipated and prepared for. I already love the whitebox launch  initiative by his ministry and hope to see such moves in several other ministries and NGOs as well.Therefore, as a country,we need to focus on technologies that we believe will have significant potential to drive economic impact and disruption by 2030.

What Safaricom,Liquid telecoms,Airtel and Telkom have done in enhancing mobile Internet, for example, has affected more than 20 million Kenyans going about their lives, giving them tools to become potential innovators or entrepreneurs— making the mobile Internet one our most impactful technologies. I personally an a beneficiary of their noble initiative to nature and grow talent within STEM.My focus for now is profoundly learn the Internet of Things technology which will connect and embed intelligence in billions of objects and devices all around the world not Kenya alone, affecting the health, safety, and productivity of billions of people.I want to be part of the few folks who will go down the history books of STEM in Africa that shaped the path of the four disciplines and made life of the coming generation better from our engineered solutions.

Here is what I sorted out as the buzz in-things for Tech evangelist, engineering gurus and STEM lovers which will definitely shape our country in the next few years and propel the big 4 agenda to realization.

  1. Mobile Internet Increasingly inexpensive and capable mobile computing devices and Internet connectivity
  2. Automation of knowledge work intelligent software systems that can perform knowledge work tasks involving unstructured commands and subtle judgments
  3. The Internet of Things Networks of low-cost sensors and actuators for data collection, monitoring, decision making, and process optimization
  4. Cloud technology Use of computer hardware and software resources delivered over a network or the Internet, often as a service
  5. Advanced robotics increasingly capable robots with enhanced senses, dexterity, and intelligence used to automate tasks or augment humans
  6. Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles Vehicles that can navigate and operate with reduced or no human intervention
  7. Next-generation genomics Fast, low-cost gene sequencing, advanced big data analytics, and synthetic biology (“writing” DNA)
  8. Energy storage Devices or systems that store energy for later use, including batteries

9.3D printing Additive manufacturing techniques to create objects by printing layers  of material based on digital models

  1. Advanced materials Materials designed to have superior characteristics (e.g., strength, weight, conductivity) or functionality
  2. Advanced oil and gas exploration and recovery Exploration and recovery techniques that make extraction of unconventional oil and gas economical
  3. Renewable energy Generation of electricity from renewable sources with reduced harmful climate impact

The technologies on my list have great potential to improve the lives of billions of people, starting with our 45 million plus population. Cloud computing and the mobile Internet, for example, could raise productivity and quality in education, health care, and public services. At the same time, some of these technologies could bring unwanted side effects. The benefits of the mobile Internet and cloud computing are accompanied by rising risks of security and privacy breaches. Our 12th parliament ought to sit more frequently and speed up the data protection bill, the computer misuse and cybercrime bill and improve our information and communication act. Objects and machines under the control of computers across the Web (the Internet of Things) can also be hacked, exposingfactories, refineries, supply chains, power plants, and transportation networks to new risks


In considering the disruptive potential of these technologies, I foresee that each could drive profound changes across many dimensions—in the lives of Kenyan citizens, in business, and across the global economy. As noted from key speeches from our president Mr.Kenyatta and his deputy Mr.Ruto, the future seems bright for entrepreneurs and innovators. 3D printing, the mobile Internet, cloud technology, and even next-generation genomics could provide the opportunities and the tools to allow small enterprises to compete on a meaningful scale and advance into new markets rapidly.Almost every technology on my list could change the game for businesses, creating entirely new products and services, as well as shifting pools of value between producers or from producers to consumers. Some, like automation of knowledge work and the mobile Internet, could also change how companies and other organizations structure themselves, bringing new meaning to the anytime/ anywhere work style. With automation of knowledge work tasks, organizations that can augment the powers of skilled workers stand to do well.


As these disruptive technologies continue to evolve and play out, it will be up to business leaders, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and citizens to maximize their opportunities while dealing with the challenges.Lets make our mother country great and change the face of Africa!


Compiled and authored by : Samwel Kariuki

9th August 2018.

While still understanding the changing needs of the market over the years, I feel there is evidence around the globe that providers of energy management produc


ts and services have started taking stock of their offerings in order to include additional reporting and analytical features. Clearly, the aim is to help businesses(most if not all) achieve a wider objective. In fact, some companies like Safaricom but here in our own country have for example seriously started considering an extension of their current capabilities; While that may be one way of effecting better energy management, some providers(mostly international) are heading down the path of integrating their product lines to offer a single solution. A case in point is IBM, which is trying to address the issues raised in a forum, Green Sigma™ Coalition, formed by like-minded companies. This forum aims to help organizations become more efficient and sustainable.

IBM seeks to create intelligent systems that optimize resources, including smart grids, water and traffic, not only at the macro level but to also provide time-relevant data to gain insights and inform forward-looking decisions.


Such new capabilities can reduce the dependency of businesses on external agencies/consultants. Taking such approaches can enable companies to automate, monitor and control the two-way flow of energy from power plant to plug, create transportation systems that optimize traffic flow and decrease CO2 emissions, provide advanced portfolio/task management capabilities, use predictive analytics for better management of resources and suggest corrective action.

Kenyan manufacturers stand to benefit greatly from technologies that various energy-management service providers are implementing to deliver an automated platform (with intelligent alerts and modeling tools) for data collection,

consolidation and analysis. With some of these new methods, the energy management market in our country will advance to provide intelligent analysis once energy usage data is seamlessly integrated with other systems across work streams, such as supply chains, plant controls, financial reporting systems, material planning and product design, waste management, facility management and smart grid/meters. The best way to achieve such advancement in the industry is perhaps consolidation through acquisitions of niche energy management consulting companies by large ERP or IT product companies. Small players offering niche services will eventually realize that the only way to avoid becoming obsolete with the change in paradigm is to be acquired by larger companies since most businesses seek enterprise-wide solutions with a broader set of capabilities than mere energy monitoring. This will help unlock a new environment for energy management that will empower businesses to leverage sustainability investment opportunities within their value chain. They will be able to develop custom dashboards and reports and share relevant metrics with their customers, regulatory authorities and investors — leading to greater accountability. As an outcome, businesses will not only be able to lower costs and increase efficiency, but they will cap wastage and pollution, leaving a cleaner environment and more abundant resources to future generations.


Compiled by: Samwel Kariuki


The Internet of Energy (IoE) can be broadly defined as the upgrading and automating of electricity infrastructures, making energy production more clean and efficient, and putting more power in the hands of the consumer.WhatsApp Image 2018-05-31 at 15.45.30 (1)

My blog today will discusses how to apply ML analytics in the utilities industry to create the IoE.I personally choose to see IoE as one system where data in Kenya will be shared and analyzed, producing targeted, efficient results to utilities and consumers across our country.

The first major utility sector is Generation, which relies heavily on the work of turbines. Turbines, whether they be fueled by natural gas,steam, nuclear, or coal, are massive engineering marvels from a mechanical standpoint. There are thousands of moving parts with extreme tolerances, and minute disturbances in the system can lead to major problems, causing downtime, loss of power, safety concerns, and more.

In our country, many grids are plagued with unreliable service. This is primarily because of aging equipment; poor maintenance; and in many cases, the struggle to upgrade power systems to keep up with very high annual demand growth rates. Investment in IoT for both existing and new equipment has the potential to significantly reduce unscheduled downtime by identifying problems before they occur, thereby improving reliability and reducing costs. Other applications of IoT are optimal use of generation assets to increase the efficiency of production. In conventional power plants, IoT would be used to tune the operation of a power plant in real time and to balance production with life cycle cost of maintenance and life of equipment. As an example, GE is about to launch a digital power plant systems for coal plant in Lamu. GE claims its digital technologies when applied to new coal and gas fired power plants will increase fuel efficiency by 3%, power output by 2%, and reduce unplanned downtime by 5%, operation and maintenance costs by 25%, and fuel consumption during starts by 20%.6 In Kenya, these strategies may be used to reduce cost of electricity production and emissions. Another good example of IoT use for optimization of operations is in the wind power industry where (i) wake losses are reduced in a wind farm by adjusting pitch and yaw angles of individual turbines, (ii) turbines production is increased above rated value in a controlled manner as long as the stress and fatigue loading are within acceptable limit, and (iii) settings of individual turbines are optimized to local conditions to increase output. GE claims a 5% to 10% increase in annual energy production with these strategies.7 A futuristic application of IoT is a holistic optimization of the entire power network with the goal of decentralization and defossilization of the power sector. IoT has the potential to achieve such a transformation in which (i) renewable energy is generated close to load centers; (ii) energy storage devices are used to store excess energy and deliver energy during periods of high demand; (iii) demand response is used to balance supply and demand; (iv) flexible centralized fossil fuel-based power plants plan production based on real-time predictions of variable renewable generators; and (v) dispatch logic, and controllers are used to manage the flow of power. Several of these transformations are being tested in a number of pilots in our beloved country with the goal of achieving close to 100% renewable energy in the power sector and IoT will be a key enabler.


Happy Madaraka holidays!


Complied by: Samwel Kariuki