Stakeholders in the renewable energy sub-sector are calling on governments across Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa to embrace more green energy solutions in order to achieve universal electrification by the year 2030.
Kenya is rich in renewable energy resources such as hydro, wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy and this outstanding potential can be efficiently exploited to boost generation to cope with the strong load growth and enhance electrification of the country.
“By 2030, eighty percent renewable energy in this country is achievable. The Green Economy Strategy for Kenya highlights the need to look at positive energy solutions and explore further on a win-win solution with county governments”, said Prof. Judi Wakhungu, Kenya’s outgoing Environment Cabinet secretary while speaking at the conference that was attended by over 300 participants and more than 70 speakers including representatives of the Kenyan government, International Financial Institutions (IFIs), regional and international organizations, private sector, academia and civil society Where as the urban electrification rate attains 60%, in rural areas the electrification rate is 10% compensated by a strong use of solid biomass by the non-electrified citizens.
Outgoing Mining Cabinet Secretary Dan Kazungu who officiated the closing of the two day event added that there is need for more Hybrid solar power plants and other innovative forms of renewable energy to reduce the fuel costs of mines and industry and provide reliable power at predictable rates.
“Mining and drilling operations often sit in remote areas, far from established electricity infrastructure. Yet, they often have significant power needs on the order of tens of megawatts and tens of gigawatt-hours per site. This has seen most miners use diesel generators provided to provide this power demand. However, they are expensive to fuel and sometimes harmful to miners’ health especially the Small-Scale mining sub-sector. Therefore access to reliable and cost-effective forms of energy is a strategic priority not just for Kenya and Africa, but also for the global mining sector”, CS Kazungu added.
Kenya is one of the fastest growing countries in East Africa and has made remarkable progress in unlocking its already recognized renewable energy potential. “RES4Africa aims to follow-up on its commitment to help drive Kenya’s sustainable energy transition by creating more opportunities for multi-stakeholder dialogue, sharing market intelligence and fostering capacity building, with a distinct role for private sector”, said Roberto Vigotti, RES4MED&Africa Secretary General.
However at the same event one of the world’s largest investors in renewable energy across Europe, Enel Green Power, expressed concern over the slow growth of investment in renewables in East Africa’s largest economy. “what we see today in Kenya is that there’s plenty of projects, there are mechanisms of bilateral negotiations between government and sponsors however there’s very little speed of growth. There are a variety of projects being proposed by non-credible and speculative players”, said Valentino Rossi Enel Green Power’s global head of business development while speaking to the press on the sidelines of the #RES4Africa 2018 Expo.
Enel Green Power in collaboration with Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa (www.res4Africa.org), Strathmore University and Kenya Power have build a mini-grid academy to lay the ground for expertise in renewables across the region. The academy is expected to equip Kenya’s and indeed the East African regions energy sectors with skills and knowledge for further innovation in renewable energy solutions.
A Micro-Grid Academy and the results of a grid integration study of non-programmable renewables in the National Electric System of Kenya were some of the deliverables officially launched during the two day event as part of the roadmap to accelerating the country’s integration of renewable energy.