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December 15, 2018

Ongwae, Kimemia root for green energy to curb high cost of electricity

Kisii Governor James Ongwae engages Energiya Global President Yosef Abramowitt. The two are attending the Eighth International Eilat-Eilot Energy Conference in Eilat-Israel. /GPS
Kisii Governor James Ongwae engages Energiya Global President Yosef Abramowitt. The two are attending the Eighth International Eilat-Eilot Energy Conference in Eilat-Israel. /GPS

Kisii governor James Ongwae and his Nyandarua counterpart Francis Kimemia on Thursday urged the government to embrace investments in green energy to cut the cost of electricity.

The county chiefs, while at the Eilat-Eilot International Energy Conference in Israel, asked the government to create incentives for foreign firms seeking to invest in green energy.

The incentives, they argued would spur massive investments in the sector so as to ultimately offer Kenyans access cheaper and clean energy.

Saying the country’s cost of power was inhibitive to investors, the governors said embracing solar and wind power energy would be the best alternative source of power.

"We urge the ministry of energy to allow more production of clean energy and more investment in this kind of power generation in order to meet the increasing electricity demands in Kenya," Ongwae said.

The county boss warned that overreliance in hydro-power had brought a myriad of challenges that had made it unreliable as a source of power.

He said natural energy would not only be environmentally friendly but also increase power connectivity among the public and industries as well.

"In Kisii, an investment in solar power and wind power generation can help us eliminate industrial use of wood fuel especially by tea factories," Ongwae said.

For his part, Kimemia said that "attractive mechanisms that can make it possible for great green energy innovations like solar power to penetrate Kenya should be accepted."

"We need to create incentives and ease access for the Israeli companies and others interested in alternative power generation to access our markets."

Speaking during a panel discussion on technology and innovation, the governor said that rigid bureaucracies were hindering growth and development in alternative energy.

This, he said, is despite the obvious needs and challenges faced by overreliance on hydropower which has faced challenges due to global warming.

"We still have power outages yet our county has great potential in solar power generation as well as wind power production. We must find a way of making it easy for our citizens to access cheap and clean energy," Kimemia said.

Several Israeli energy companies have expressed interest in investing in Kenya bridge electricity deficits and help deal with the non-reliable hydro- power supply.

"We are ready to take up ventures in Africa and particularly in Kenya. We have studied the Kenyan situation and given the Israeli experience with solar and wind power this is the way to go for Kenya," said Yosef Abramowitt, the President of Energiya Global.

The UN Global green energy and ambassador said that his company is already taking up projects in Kenya with two 10 MW projects each in Narok and Kwale.

Negev Multi-Agency Consulting deputy executive director Wycliffe Omondi said his organisation is working to ensure enhanced relationship and investments by Israeli established firms and start-ups in Kenya.

"We can generate greater investment opportunities for both Kenya and Israeli organizations in both countries. We want to use our inter-trade links to connect more Israeli companies with Kenya," he added.

Omondi, who is accompanying the Kenyan delegation, said Negev is working with the Israeli embassy in Kenya to organise a major exhibition for Israeli companies in Nairobi in May next year.

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