Boost as Kenya to receive Sh11b for transition to clean energy

Energy and Petroleum PS Alex Wachira speaking to the press on October 24, 2023 at Nakuru City when he opened Clean Cooking week. [Daniel Chege, Standard] 

The trust fund committee of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) has endorsed a $70 million (Sh11.2 billion) concessional funding to advance the integration and utilisation of renewable energy in Kenya. The country plans to transition to 100 per cent clean energy by 2030.

This approval, with an initial allocation of $46.39 million (Sh7.4 billion), is part of CIF’s Renewable Energy Integration (REI) investment programme and will help Kenya’s ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32 per cent by 2030 and achieve Net Zero by 2050.

The Climate Investment Funds is one of the largest multilateral climate funds in the world. It was established in 2008 to mobilize finance for low carbon, climate-resilient development at scale in developing countries.

“The government expresses its gratitude for being among the countries participating in the Renewable Energy Integration Program.  [REI] facilitates enhanced integration of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in pursuit of the country’s Nationally Determined Contributions goal. Additionally, the plan will assist Kenya in her ambition to achieve 100 percent clean energy in the power system by 2030 and place it well on the trajectory to achieving Net Zero by 2050,” said Alex Wachira, the Principal Secretary in the State Department for Energy.

The programme is expected to mobilise at least an additional $243 million (Sh39 billion) from the public and private sectors through implementing partners including the African Development Bank and the World Bank Group, the latter supporting Kenya in developing a smart and flexible energy system.

Currently, the share of renewable energy in Kenya is 90 per cent – including 45 percent from geothermal and 26 percent hydropower. During evening hours however, it struggles to meet peak demand, while at night, generation surpluses from geothermal and wind are sometimes not dispatched. 

Kenya’s REI investment plan is intended to improve dispatch, grid stability, and flexibility to address these issues.

It will also facilitate future private sector investment in innovative storage technologies, such as battery storage and pumped hydropower. The energy system will also be better prepared for a significant increase in electric mobility and cooking. The plan contributes to the expansion of variable renewable energy, such as wind and solar, from 19 percent to 30 percent by 2030.

“The concessional funding from CIF will be instrumental in getting power to Kenyan consumers where and when they need it. Through the Renewable Energy Integration investment program, three of our multilateral development bank partners are collaborating with us to build a powerful coalition to boost Kenya’s ambitions. We are excited to support Kenya in their trailblasing effort to reach universal energy access while embracing low-carbon technology,” said Luis Tineo, interim CEO at Climate Investment Funds. 

The energy PS said the programme will also promote gender inclusivity among the professionals and resource persons through training resulting in creating a diverse pool of skilled manpower in the renewable energy sector.

Mary Porter Peschka, International Finance Corporation regional director for Eastern Africa says the organization’s support for the growth of clean and affordable energy is central to IFC’s work and vital to Kenya’s inclusive green growth.

She added that the country, leveraging private sector expertise and resources, can increase access to innovative energy solutions like battery storage, mini-grids, clean cooking, and e-mobility.

Globally, the REI programme seeks to address technical, policy, and market barriers that prevent the integration of energy from renewable energy into national grids especially in developing countries with a regulatory framework and market structures that support direct investments by private entities.

Already 15 contributor countries have pledged over $11 billion to the funds with CIF mobilizing more than $64 billion in additional financing, particularly from the private sector, in over 70 countries.

“CIF’s large-scale, low-cost, long-term financing lowers the risk and cost of climate financing. It tests new business models, builds track records in unproven markets, and boosts investor confidence to unlock additional sources of finance,” states the organization in a statement.

Ten countries have been selected to take part in this program, with Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Fiji, and Mali’s investment plans endorsed by the fund’s committee last year.