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Ruto, British PM agree to fast track Sh500b projects on green energy

Environment
 President Willliam Ruto (Left) with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak during The United Nations Climate Change conference COP 27, at Sharm El Sheikh Congress Centre, Egypt on November 07, 2022. [Jonah Mwangi, PCS]

President William Ruto and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have agreed to fast-track six green investment projects worth Sh500 billion spanning green energy, agriculture and transport.

Ruto and Sunak who met on the sidelines of the COP27 summit in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt, said the clean and green investments will become flagship projects of the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership – an ambitious five-year agreement that is unlocking mutual benefits.

The Prime Minister praised President Ruto’s pioneering climate leadership and urged Kenya to continue along the path of green growth.

Sunak urged all countries to deliver on the commitments made at COP26 in Glasgow.

“Sh425 billion will go towards new geothermal and solar energy generation at Menengai and Malindi through Public Private Partnership to deliver the Grand High Falls Dam, which will generate a gigawatt of renewable power and provide an area over twice the size of the Maasai Mara with drought-combating irrigation solutions,” he said.

Ruto thanked Britain for supporting the projects saying that by fast-tracking finance into the clean, green projects, the UK is supporting Kenya to advance and maintain its leading climate credentials – with mutual benefits for both countries.

“I would like to thank the British government for supporting the multilateral initiative - the Energy Transition Council (ETC) - in its 11 partner countries across Asia and Africa until at least 2025 which include Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco,” he said.

The President said that through its technical assistance mechanism, the Rapid Response Facility the Council will enable partner countries to find, coordinate, and implement solutions more rapidly - including on distributed and large-scale renewables; green grids; and energy efficiency.

"Kenya welcomes the decision by United Kingdom to fast-track new green investments in the country, we commit to further our cooperation, particularly in the areas of regional peace and security, energy, agriculture and infrastructure," he said.

Sunak noted that Sh31 billion investment will go towards climate-smart crop and agro-industrial processing system via a joint venture with Kisumu county that will create 2,000 direct jobs and provide an income for a further 20,000 farmers across counties in the Lake Victoria region.

The Prime Minister said that a Grand High Falls Dam worth Sh25 billion will be built through Public Private Partnership on the Tana River that will generate 1,000MW of hydroelectric energy capacity and irrigation for 400,000 hectares of farmland with the project envisaged to include both a Power Purchase Agreement for clean energy and a Water Purchase Agreement for agricultural irrigation.

“We have Plans to double the size of Malindi Solar and add battery storage with an additional Sh7.5 billion investment - making over Sh 15 billion since we already have Solar Expansion investment worth Sh 7.5 Billion for a 40 MW solar plant, constructed by UK with finance from British International Investment which was connected to the national grid in December 2021,” he said.

Sunak noted that Sh2.5 billion will go towards 35 MW Menengai Geothermal which will mark the full development of a field discovered by Geothermal Development Cooperation with the project having a signed and effective Power Purchase Agreement with KPLC that confirms one of the cheapest tariffs for baseload renewable power.

A green regeneration of central Nairobi worth Sh5 Billion anchored around a new central rail station connected to Bus Rapid Transit, incorporating the latest innovations in green building technology and planning will be supported by the UK government.

The UK Government is collaborating with CPF Financial Services and other private investors to launch a new guarantee company that will de-risk investments and unlock private finance from pension funds and insurance companies for projects in Kenya committing Sh2 billion to the company, which will mobilise Sh12 billion of new climate finance for Kenyan infrastructure over the next three years.

Sunak explained that throughout its COP26 Presidency, the UK has worked with partners across Africa to deliver and build on the Glasgow Climate Pact, and to see commitments made at COP26 turned into action and the UK recognises that there is further work to do.

The UK’s Partnership for Accelerated Climate Transition (UK PACT) programme is supporting projects in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. For instance, in Kenya since COP26 Sh750 million has been committed with Sh370 million to go towards energy transition.

This project once successful will unlock private sector investment in forest protection and the Kenyan Government’s ambitious 10 per cent forest cover target.  

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