Kenya is said to have attracted a record $1.4 billion (Sh145 billion) investments in renewable energy last year, the third-highest in the Middle East and Africa, deepening its shift from expensive sources of electricity.
The 2019 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report that tracked global trends in renewable energy investments has shown that Kenya overtook Egypt, United Arabs Emirates, Jordan and Rwanda to join top six hotspot destinations of green energy.
Kenya attracted $1.4 billion in energy investments in 2018, the highest on record, and split almost equally between geothermal at $486 million (Sh50.4 billion), wind at $476 million (Sh49.4 billion) and solar at $467 million (Sh48.5 billion.
Kenya is following closely South Africa and Morocco that attracted $4.1 billion (Sh426 billion) and $3.1 billion (Sh322 billion) respectively. The largest deals in the country were $366 million (Sh38 billion) for the 83 megawatt (MW) KenGen Olkaria I unit 6 geothermal plant, and $333 million (Sh34.6 billion) for the 100MW Actis Kipeto wind farm.
Geothermal accounted for 44.6 percent of power generation mix by the end of December last year and followed by hydro at 29.8 percent. Thermal, which was at 24.5 percent in December 2017, dropped to just 9.6 percent
The increased investments have leapfrogged Kenya’s quest for cheap and clean energy given that energy from wind is priced at Sh8 per kilowatt-hours (kWh) compared to thermal at Sh15 per kWh.
The 300MW Turkana Wind Power farm and Garissa solar power plant joined the grid last year, relegating expensive thermal power to the fourth position in Kenya’s electricity sources.
Kenya also earned UNEP recognition for increased installation of small-scale solar systems. The 500kW project at Moi International Airport in Mombasa has been hailed as a first at an African air travel hub.
The UNEP report indicates that the Middle East and Africa have some of the most promising markets for renewables, especially solar, due to year-round sunshine and fast growth in electricity demand in most countries.
Source: Business Daily