UMEME means electric in Swahili, which is a language spoken in Kenya. The objective of the UMEME 24/7 project was to develop and test solutions that will improve power supply and stability for consumers in Kenya.
Like many other developing countries, Kenya is plagued by both scheduled and unscheduled power outages during the day, which is a great nuisance to individuals, industry and the public sector – for example hospitals.
In the UMEME project the Alexandra Institute and its project partners, the two SMEs Amplex and EnergyNautics, developed solutions that aimed to reduce the number of unscheduled power outages and optimise the use of the electric grid. This was to be achieved by ensuring that power disconnections or consumption reductions take place only when they cause the least inconvenience and when the consumers understand and accept them.
In order to develop such solutions, it is essential to identify how users can be motivated for interacting with the electric grid and with other consumers. The Alexandra Institute therefore conducted a user survey in Kenya that served as a basis for developing concepts and payment schemes that constitute the framework for the implementation of the technical solutions provided by EnergyNautics and Amplex.
The project was funded by Eurostars, The Danish Council for Technology and Innovation and EU's 7th Framework Programme.
The Eurostars Programme is a European Joint Programme dedicated to R&D-intensive SMEs, and co-funded by the European Communities and 33 EUREKA member countries. Eurostars aims to stimulate SMEs to join international collaborative research and innovation projects. The programme also encourages universities, knowledge institutions and major companies to participate in these innovative transnational collaborations. A SME, however, always assumes the role as applicant.