As the world continues to grow, the demand for technology is on the rise. Technology is improving and the need for a stable electrical infrastructure is important to continue productivity. Although the United States is at the forefront of technology other countries are taking steps to incorporate more, so their country can flourish. The world thrives on successful systems operating to its fullest potential to create outcomes beneficial for growth and opportunities. But what happens when you live in a developing country who constantly faces power outages?
Since 1997, Kenya has had its fair share of dark nights from the electrical outages that has plagued the country despite attempted government interventions.
Outages can be caused by numerous things that include failed electrical systems, improper infrastructure, or misappropriation of resources. Power outages not only impact the economy but also affects peoples daily lives and jeopardizing their access for basic and safety needs. The best way to understand ones basic needs is to understand the concept of Abraham Maslows hierarchy of needs.
This hierarchy consists of six levels that include physiological, safety, belonginess and love, esteem and self-actualization (Poston, 2009, p. 348). These levels are essential to life because none of the needs can be met without one need being satisfied. The basic level is most important because it is vital for an individual’s survival. According to Robbins and Judge (2015), the physiological level includes hunger, thirst, shelter, sex, and other bodily needs & the safety level includes security and protection from physical and emotional harm (p. 210). In the event of a blackout, a domino effect occurs, and one problem leads to another. For example, a lack of power means that if individuals are using a refrigeration system, food can no longer be stored safely then there is a chance that someone could get sick. Or the lack of security to monitor crime will make people feel unsafe and uneasy in their own home. As the blackouts occur the realization is that people must go into survival mode to address those basic needs by the any means possible.
The growth in Nairobi is expected to expand quickly over time with no likelihood of slowing down, which could complicate the demand for electricity. The country is attempting to keep up the pace with the growth, but it is happening rapidly. According to Gwartney, Stroup, Sobel & Macpherson (2015), as cities grow and shrink, changes in the number of consumers affect the demand for many products. In this case the demand for electricity will increase (p. 49). The countries infrastructure took a major hit each time a blackout occurred because major sectors such as the economy, safety, wellbeing, and health of the citizens were impacted tremendously. With a weak infrastructure in place the problem of productivity for effective systems will be a constant obstacle. Some businesses and homes may have the option of utilizing generators, while others may not; however, the demand would be far greater than the supply causing yet another complication associated with Maslows Hierarchy of needs. For example, Liberia is a phase of reconstruction from the war and parts of the country depends on generators as a means of operation and survival in many ways. However, if a blackout occurs, while some generators operate by electricity others operate by gasoline and these generators are in turn are not useful and if gas stations are shut down then gas cannot be pumped causing a shortage in the resources needed to operate a generator.
At a time when citizens needed reassurance from government officials during this reoccurring crisis, the Ministry of Energy placed blame on the urban slums for the illegal hookups being the root cause. Yet, disregarding acknowledgement that substation failures and stoppages at the generation facility indeed contributed to the breakdowns that caused the blackouts according to the Kenya Power and Lightening Company (KPLC). Substation failures were the common denominator for the continuous blackouts. The Ministry of Energy and his Secretary Nyoike addressed the problem indirectly time after time, showing the ineffectiveness of the strategies put in place to avoid blackouts. Furthermore, justifying that more needs to be done to fix the problem instead of covering up the problem. The lack of accountability from the government added a shift in the confidence that the citizens once had to almost being nonexistent.
The government introduced The Vision 2030 plan, a long-term development plan, as a solution that Kenya needed to put the country on track. The implementation of the Vision 2030 plan specifies under the economic pillars, the improvements designed for infrastructure and energy. The plan did come with a high price to pay and its on dilemmas that would provide skeptism for citizens. The government included some aggressive plans that could have been discussed into more detail before implementation and to have included citizen opinion. The execution process has been slowly but surely going but in the process of production, another blackout occurred causing yet another setback.
Countries across the African continent, such as South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria, have been striving with renewable energy sources that include hydropower, solar, wind and biomass. Although, South Africa is the most developed county in Africa they faced their own challenges with power crisis like Kenya included increase in the internal demand of electricity from the increased population (Jain & Jain, 2017, p. 723). Although each country has their own plan, the Kenyan government can choose various items that would work best for their country when they attempt to shift their focus to renewable energy. According to Aliyu, Modu & Tan (2017), renewable energy as an alternate is a sustainable option that can significantly overdependence on fossil fuel. Improvement of energy efficiency is the cheapest, fastest and environmentally friendly way to meet the significance of the worlds energy demand. Energy investment is reduced by energy efficiency creating a more economically sound outcome and overtime reduces energy cost (p. 2503-2504). Solar power is flourishing in all three countries and brings the greatest amount of contribution. Exploring the options for renewable energy would be beneficial for Kenya because the current plans are not working as effective as was intended. There has been a continued effort to enforce a new system however, it provides the same results with no improvements.