How can emerging economies meet development and climate goals in the transport-energy system? : Modelling co-developed scenarios in Kenya using a socio-technical approach

Dixon, James and Pierard, Elena C. and Mwanzia, Patrick and Giki, Paschal and Oduor, Joshua and Maranga, Ignatius and Kemei, Dominic and Onjala, Joseph and Mwangi, Francis and Ondanje, Warren and Brand, Christian and Courtright, Thomas and Muhia, Paul and Bundi, Thomas and Balongo, Samuel and Oyuke, Abel and Li, Tang and Mitullah, Winnie and Sivakumar, Aruna and Dalkmann, Holger and Foster, Vivien and Da Silva, Izael and Hirmer, Stephanie A. (2024) How can emerging economies meet development and climate goals in the transport-energy system? : Modelling co-developed scenarios in Kenya using a socio-technical approach. Energy Strategy Reviews, 53. 101396. ISSN 2211-467X (

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Transport-energy transitions pose complex challenges that have been extensively studied in high-income countries in response to national mandates for climate action. Low- and middle-income countries, however, have low but rapidly growing motorisation rates and face very different challenges in adopting new technologies to foster economic development and ensure equitable access to clean transportation. Here, we present a set of narrative scenarios for the future of the Kenyan transport-energy system co-developed through engagement with 41 local experts and decision-makers. Through the co-development of a Kenyan transport-energy system model, we present a decision-support tool, populated with those scenarios, to assist policymakers at regional, national and international levels in building policy and investment pipelines to support low-carbon economic growth. We find that Kenya’s transport-energy system can meet both development and climate goals, but this demands strong policy support for efficient public transport and targeted support for road vehicle electrification. Increased support for non-motorised transport is essential to provide equitable access to services and economic opportunities. Favourable pathways result in significant e-mobility uptake, which is anticipated to increase electricity demand by 5-56% from 2023 to 2040, relative to the IEA Kenya Energy Outlook’s Stated Policies scenario, representing a 2.7-3.9x increase in Kenya’s total electricity demand over the same period. From a macro-fiscal perspective, results show that e-mobility has two important consequences for Kenya. Firstly, under high e-mobility scenarios, there is a negative fiscal impact that taxation revenues from the sale of transport fuels reduce by up to 41% relative to the low e-mobility scenario (though, notably, they still increase marginally from the 2023 level because of increasing transport demand). Secondly, high e-mobility scenarios have a positive impact on balance of payments by reducing the fuel import bill by up to 69% relative to the low e-mobility baseline. This corresponds to a reduction in foreign exchange requirement of up to $4.2bn annually by 2050.