Tabitha Njeri Karanja was born in Nyeri, Kenya. She pursued a bachelor's degree in Manufacturing Engineering and Technology at Egerton University, Njoro, Kenya. During this time, she also interned several times in the manufacturing industry to gain practical knowledge. During her studies, she pursued her interest in renewable energy systems and for her bachelor's project; she designed a lowcost wind-powered aeration system for fish farming. Later, she went on to work as a project manager in the bottling and packaging machine manufacturing industry where she gained professional experience in installation, commissioning and after-sale services of equipment in East and Central Africa.
In 2016, she left her career as a project manager to pursue her passion in renewable energy and transformation of energy systems. Through a DAAD scholarship opportunity, she pursued a Master of Engineering in Energy and Environmental Management with a specialization in developing countries, at the Europa-Universität Flensburg, Germany. For her master's thesis, Tabitha carried out an electrification planning for improving electricity access using geospatial analysis targeted at unelectrified areas in Kenya. After successfully completing her studies, she worked as a research and teaching assistant at the Europa-Universität Flensburg, developing energy system models, teaching sustainable energy planning for rural areas and honing her skills in the fields of system analysis and geographical information systems. Tabitha enjoys reading, badminton and photography.
Short description of the doctoral thesis:
Developing countries such as those in Sub-Saharan Africa experience challenges in providing modern energy services. Modern, reliable and quality energy can provide services such as lighting, transport and mechanical power that positively influence education, health, the environment, incomes and timesavings. Although, electricity is one of the most convenient forms of energy, one-in-eight of the world’s population, predominantly living in rural areas has no access to it, while many more have unreliable and poor-quality supply. Due to growing population, limited fossil fuels and climate change among other factors, energy systems have become a focal point, as future energy systems will be based on those systems that cater for such phenomena and are resilient. These aspects have led to global discussions on how to provide affordable and clean energy to all by 2030 based on the 7th Sustainable Development Goal.
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) have proved to be valuable tools for the evaluation and development of renewable energy resources and as planning and decision-support tools for energy access. The doctoral research aims to model energy systems incorporated into geospatial components to assess sustainable and affordable, medium- to long-term energy solutions. Through the development of a GIS-based planning model, the integration, linkages and synergies between spatial planning and energy planning will be explored to model low-carbon, robust energy systems of the future. The doctoral research will take on both interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches where technical evaluation of the energy systems will be demonstrated as well as the socio-economic and environmental aspects through quantitative and qualitative assessments. Although, the decisionsupport model will be constructed and applied for the case study of Kenya, it will be designed for scalability and reproducibility to other locations, consequently, allowing for its generalization and adaptation to other developing countries. The model will also employ scenario and comparative studies to help understand, verify and forecast the dynamics of the its applicability in different contexts.