POWERING DEVELOPMENT

Renewable energy key to attaining Vision 2030

In 2019, Kenya’s clean energy capacity recorded an increase with the geothermal capacity expanding by 25.0 per cent to 828.4 MW.

In Summary

• The generation of clean energy has positioned Kenya on the top on the global map.

• Data from the IEA on the country indicates access to electricity in the country has increased over the last 20 years, reaching almost 75 per cent of the population. This is remarkable.

Different types of renewable energy
Different types of renewable energy
Image: WIKIMEDIA

Almost everyone has goals, and for Kenya, the Vision 2030 is top on her list. As we look forward to attaining this milestone, there is an aspect that will be essential to making this dream come true. That is access to reliable, efficient and affordable energy.

According to World Bank records, Kenya had barely connected one million people to electricity by 1990. However, in light of the ever growing population, by 2018, more than 35 million (almost 75 per cent) Kenyans had access to electricity, a factor attributed to government’s effort to invest in energy projects.

This milestone equally makes me think bigger on what it means to have reliable, efficient and affordable energy for any economy. As matter of fact, almost every sector of the economy relies on energy. This means without sufficient green energy, it will be even be tougher to achieve majority of the other sustainable development goals on aspects such as quality health and education and sustainable cities, among others.

 

In a global outlook joint report of 2020, development institutions, including the World Bank, United Nations Development Fund, International Energy Agency, International Renewable Energy Agency and the World Health Organization revealed that unless efforts are scaled up in power generation and distribution, attaining the Vision 2030 on SGD Goal 7 — which calls for universal energy access — will be far from the reality.

Closer home, the generation of clean energy has positioned us on the top on the global map. Data from the IEA on Kenya indicates access to electricity in the country has increased over the last 20 years, reaching almost 75 per cent of the population. This is remarkable.

According to the Economic Survey of 2020, Kenya recorded growth in the total installed electricity capacity. This increased from 2711.7 MW in 2018 to 2818.9 MW in 2019. On this remarkable step, the additional 165MW of energy from KenGen’s Olkaria V Power Plant was significant.

In 2019, Kenya’s clean energy capacity recorded an increase with the geothermal capacity expanding by 25.0 per cent to 828.4 MW. The country’s leading electricity generating company, KenGen, with 86 per cent of its energy produced from green sources, has continued to position Kenya among the leading countries in geothermal power generation and in clean energy investments.

Wind and solar installations have also continued to contribute immensely to the growth in clean energy investments. BloombergNEF index report of 2019, while looking at the investments and opportunities in clean energy, ranked Kenya fifth globally, an indication Kenya may be steps ahead in attaining Vision 2030.

That said, it is worth noting that at $1.4 Billion (Sh140 billion), Kenya recorded the highest ever clean energy investments. This also covered over a third of all the 2018 foreign investments in the sub-Saharan region, a clear indication we are a step ahead, not only in attaining the Last Mile Connectivity project of the Rural Electrification Authority but also on powering all the other sectors.

This fits well with the country’s economic growth agenda.

Ronald Koskei, Nakuru