Kenya among top Ten Countries in Renewable Energy Investments

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has ranked Kenya among the top ten countries worldwide that have made much investment in renewable energy.

This was as a result of policies adopted in the energy sector which have contributed to the investment in geothermal and wind energy. The new survey placed Kenya as sixth in the global list of emerging markets which summed together attracts Ksh2.9billion worth of investments in clean energy in 2014 – an improvement of 39% from the previous year.

The Climatescope Index ranked Kenya sixth of the overall 55 countries that are investing in renewable power generation. In Africa, Kenya is second after South Africa, which was overall number four while Uganda took ninth position.

Studies by the Ministry of Energy show that geothermal power is abundant in Kenya, mostly in the Rift Valley. Estimations show that Kenya has a potential to produce about 10,000 MW of Geothermal power from the Rift valley basin, due to its cost effectiveness.

Projects that majorly contributed to this were Turkana Wind Power Project and Kenya Electricity Generating Company investments. The SH 86 billion Lake Turkana Wind Project is set to produce 310MW as from 2017 setting it as the biggest wind project in the continent. Kenya is a major player in geothermal power production due to KenGen that has a contribution of 49% of the national grid supply.

Lake Turkana wind farm project
Lake Turkana wind farm project

Geothermal power generation in Kenya

Geothermal currently accounts for 29% of Kenya’s energy mix – up from only 13% in 2011.The reports said that East African country outdid Japan at the end of 2014 by becoming the eighth largest geothermal producer; this was after KenGen commissioned a further 280 MW of capacity due to the opening of the power plant at the Olkaria geothermal power source in early 2015.

This power plant is the largest worldwide. KenGen plans to add another 560MW of Geothermal power to the national grid by 2019.By vision2030 Kenya plans to have 5530MW of geothermal power. This will equate to 26% of Kenya’s total geothermal capacity making geothermal power Kenya’s largest source of clean energy electricity.

Power consumption in Kenya

Information from Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) showed that geothermal power consumption in kenya rose to a record high of 402.1 million units in October summing up for nearly half of the country’s total consumption. The Geothermal power being generated at olkaria and other projects in Kenya is advantageous as it is lowering the cost of fuel in electricity bills.

Geothermal power will also make it cheaper to do business in Kenya and further investment and Kenyans will save money on electricity. The first privately funded venture in Kenya is the Akiira One 70-Mw power plant in Naivasha. According to National Energy Policy, Kenya adversely enjoys clean energy resources with 10GW of geothermal and 3GW of small hydro potential.

Centum Investments, Marine Power, Frontier Investment Management Of Denmark and US firms Ram Energy are behind the sh 27 billion project. The Climatescope Index said solar power would be the next in line for investors in Kenya’s Renewable energy sector. Jinko Solar and SkyPower are some of the international companies that have signed deals with Kenya government for geothermal power production.

Reports also said that in sub-Saharan Africa there was a drop in investments in the renewable energy sectors due to some delays in financing of projects in South Africa. In 2014 this was transparent as it stood at SH 280 Billion recording a 57% drop .The Climatescope Index found that in 2014 sh12.6 trillion had been invested in renewable energy in 55 countries that were covered recording an increase from SH 9 Trillion an year before.