John Maguro, a young man who grew up with no electricity in Central Kenya,, has developed a micro hydroelectric power device that delivers cheap and clean electricity for homes.
Maguro started off by building small turbines to provide electricity to his community before later teaming up with a Belgium businessman to find a company for electricity.
“In my village, there was no connection of power. The main challenge was that I did not have access to power for my studies. I was, at that time, using paraffin,” noted Maguro during an interview with DW.
Today, his project has extended power distribution to local businesses and schools transforming off-grid homes in his area.
Photo of a turbine in River Sagana
Unlike hydroelectric dams, his project does not require large reservoirs or resettlement of an entire village.
River Sagana, one of the longest rivers in the country, is the main ingredient to the success of the project.
How His Project Works
Part of the river is simply redirected downwards to increase its speed fast enough to run the turbines. The water is then channeled back to the river. Electricity is then fed into a network of lines across the regions
“We have also improved farming because right now, they can use electricity to pump water to their homes. Students are also now able to learn online since they have power,” he noted.
“We used to rely on the national electricity which had hitches. Sometimes the power went off which would bring loss to our poultry farming businesses. That’s why we opted to use Maguro’s electricity which has been beneficial.” reiterated one of the Residents in Central Kenya.
The company’s project has expanded the spread of electricity across the country to compliment the state’s effort to connect all Kenyans to power. Today, only 76.54 percent of Kenyans have access to electricity according to data from Statista.
Energy studies indicate that generating electricity locally has high potential especially in remote areas that are difficult to electrify.
John made his first turbine as a child using his brother’s bicycle parts, since then he’s never left his love for hydroelectric power. His one-time hobby is now benefiting his entire community.
Aerial View of Muranga county