RENEWABLE ENERGY IN KENYA
THE EXTRAORDINARY DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWABLE ENERGY IN KENYA
Author: Elisa Mariani
Translated by Arianna Zargar
Until a few years ago Kenya had a scarce production of electric energy, with an internal supply available only for the 30% of the population. Furthermore, according to relative recent estimates, Kenya ranks worldwide 22nd for the production of electric energy and 46th for the production of photovoltaic energy. In view of this situation, the Kenyan government is making efforts to develop projects relating to renewable energy, which focus on the extension of electricity supply to most of the people of the country.
That is why the executive is encouraging the development of renewable energy on the Kenyan territory on three fronts, in collaboration with private entrepreneurs. First among everything the photovoltaic industry, which forecasts 1 billion euros investment allocated by the government itself with a private contribution that will double funding for the creation of 9 photovoltaic plants. The purpose of this strategy, supported also by Cliff Ouiti, one of the biggest supporter of KEREA (Kenya Renewable Energy Association), consist in the divert of the 50% of energy from the photovoltaic in 2016, intended to decrease duties thereby reducing the costs of energy of 80%.
Another field of intervention concerning the renewable is wind energy with the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, intended to create the biggest wind farm of the African continent, located in the Loyangalani district of the Marsabit County, in the area close to the Lake Turkana, with the installation of 365 wind turbines covering 162 km of land. In addition to providing news in terms of energy, this project is part of a redevelopment intervention of the region itself, which is characterized by illiteracy, dryness, insufficient connections and infrastructures compared to the rest of the country and poverty. In fact, we need only think that in this district the majority of the population lives, on average, with only 15€ monthly in peripheral areas and 30€ in urban areas.
Moreover, this area is highly recommended for the construction of wind plants thanks to its excellent ventilation. The wind farm will be finished within October 2016, as confirmed by Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO). The jewel in the crown of this project is the approval and financial support from Google that aspires to obtain the 12,5% of amounts at finished and functioning plant.
The last piece of the puzzle in this renewable revolution is represented by the exploitation of geothermic energy, a sector that has seen a wide development in Kenya and plays a key role in the energy production of the country. The success of this energy type in Kenya is mainly due to the geyser, fumaroles, and hot springs presence in the Rift Valley.
The Kenyan government is searching private investors and international partners willing to cooperate for the increase in using the renewable, especially of geothermic energy. This call has been collected by The United Kingdom that has 20 firms interested in investing in renewable energies. For this purpose, a Memorandum of Understanding for the renewable development between the UK and Kenyan has been signed.
Lastly, the project Kenya Vision 2030 was launched in 2008 also includes, among the many initiatives, the production of 5000 MW of low-carbon energy through the use of geothermal science.
According to UNEP estimates (United Nations Environment Programme), thanks to policies relatives to renewable energies adopted by the Kenyan government, which also include the introduction of the account energy, intended to promote renewable supply, the energetic production will have an increase of 1300 MW leading, within the next 15 years, the renewable sector to cover the 60% Kenyan energy needs.
SOURCES for the article “The extraordinary development of renewable energy in Kenya”