The Electricity Sector Association of Kenya (ESAK) has pronounced key measures in enabling Kenya to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy (RE) by 2030. This, even as it reaffirms its commitment to the global climate agenda.
The timely announcement comes ahead of the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC set to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from 6th -18th November 2022.
Giving his remarks, ESAK chairperson George Aluru said, “In line with the current administration’s agenda on introducing reliability and affordability of power, we as ESAK commit to encouraging the sustainable development of the Kenyan electricity sector through collaboration, advocacy and data-driven solutions, as a result maintaining investor confidence through a predictable and stable business environment. This, even as we build the value chain and grow demand by attracting global industrial investors looking to accelerate their sustainability agenda by leveraging on Kenya’s existing 90% renewable electricity grid. This will position Kenya as a leader in the green industrial revolution”.
Besides building a value chain for renewable energy and maintaining investor confidence, the association announced enabling policies and regulations, grid enhancements, sustainable financing and building inclusive pathways as critical in enabling the blueprint towards achieving 100 per cent renewable energy.
On regulations, the ESAK says it seeks to encourage the development of supportive market-reflective frameworks for the transition to RE. This includes competitive procurement of generation capacity aided by well-developed integrated national energy planning mechanisms.
Recent Energy statistics report by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) shows that Kenya has promising potential for power generation from renewable energy sources. Following a least-cost approach, the government has prioritized the development of geothermal and wind energy plants as well as solar-fed mini-grids for rural electrification.
To enable this realisation, the ESAK has outlined Grid Enhancement as part of its measure to drive the renewable energy agenda. To successfully implement this, the association proposes the building of national transmission lines, regional interconnections, and enhancing grid stability to enable full utilization of RE resource potential.
On financing, “we need to adopt sustainable and innovative financing mechanisms to attract a wider pool of private funding”. Said Aluru. According to the African Development Bank, Africa’s energy financing gap as of May 2022 is $24.5 billion (KES 2.96 trillion) annually. This is to be added to the current $15.5 billion climate finance inflows to Africa (2010–19) allocated to energy education, training and research, energy conservation and demand-side efficiency, energy policy, and administrative management or development of hydropower plants. This places the total gap at between $32–$40 billion a year needed along the value chain—generation, interconnection, transmission and distribution, mini-grids, and off-grid access—to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030.