Solar panels on display during an energy conference at KICC.
By PATRICK MAYOYO
Kenya plans to increase 5,000Mw of power to its national grid from renewable energy sector by 2017.
The country that already has a renewable-rich energy mix, plans to ensure there is adequate power in line with the country’s economic growth. The targeted renewable energy sectors include geothermal, wind and solar power.
The latest developments come at a time that global climate change policy is stimulating increased take up of renewable energy around the world. This is leading to extraordinary and enormous economies of scale and efficiencies.
The British High Commission, in conjunction with Barclays Bank of Kenya, held an event in Nairobi bringing together leading players in the local renewable energy sector with investors from the United Kingdom.
The UK-Kenya Renewable Energy Conference (REC 100) aimed to secure investment into Kenya’s growing renewable energy sector, building a strong pipeline of deals to accelerate the nation’s pace of affordable electrification.
The Conference brought together 100 representatives from Kenyan and British firms across a range of low carbon solutions. Speakers included Energy & Petroleum Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge, British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey, CEO of Barclays Kenya Jeremy Awori, and Lord Clive Hollick the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Kenya & Tanzania.
The collaboration between the UK and Kenyan renewable energy sectors is underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Governments in May of 2016, which saw the UK commit Sh 70 billion to support the development of strategic renewable energy projects in Kenya.
The MoU also promotes opportunities for private sector trade and investment by the UK in Kenya’s renewable energy sector. Kenya has one of the most active renewable energy sectors in Africa
Speaking at the Conference, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey said the UK and Kenya are at the vanguard of renewable energy, clean technology and innovation.
“Kenya has one of the most active renewable energy sectors in Africa, and the UK is a global leader in many of the sectors for which Kenya has greatest demand,” Mr Hailey said.
He said the UK was excited by the growing UK-Kenya partnership in renewables, working together to bring clean, sustainable energy to the Kenyan people and accelerate Kenya’s development and economic growth.
Barclay’s Bank of Kenya CEO Jeremy Awori said, the bank’s expertise in investment financing and knowledge of the energy sector and its technologies position them to take advantage of falling renewable energy costs by partnering with the right investors to help Kenya achieve the government’s 5000MW plan by 2017.
Kenya’s energy sector has experienced strong growth over the past decade with the country bringing online 576MW of new base load capacity since 2013.
This increased energy production has coincided with higher grid connectivity, improving Kenya’s grid electricity access rate from 27% in 2012 to 55 % in 2016.
Despite this, the country still has a low electrification rate by development standards, meaning that more power projects must be developed in order to meet demand, achieve the Government of Kenya’s targets and deliver accessible pricing.