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Fourteen counties to benefit from modern and efficient energy solutions

OPINION
By Joseph Njoroge | September 2nd 2021

Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge.

As the world readies for the November UN Climate Change (COP26) Conference in Glasgow, the issue of clean development is gaining renewed attention.

It is especially acute in the energy sector, where the use of non-renewable fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas, has been blamed for carbon emissions. According to global data, most of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere is from production of electricity and heat.

This makes a strong case for the adoption of energy generation methods that leave the least negative impact on climate. In Kenya, this has found expression in deliberate efforts by the government to shift the national energy mix from heavy reliance on non-renewable to renewable methods of energy generation.

It is against this backdrop that the adoption of renewable energy sources such as the sun and the use of more energy-efficient cookstoves have been incorporated as a critical component of the Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP), an initiative aimed at enabling residents in 14 counties underserved by the national electricity grid to access modern and efficient energy solutions.

Financed by the World Bank to the tune of Sh15 billion and being implemented by the Ministry of Energy, Kenya Power and Lighting Company and Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC), KOSAP is divided into four components.

These are mini-grids for community facilities, enterprises and households; standalone solar systems (SSS) for households, which comprises standalone solar systems or Pay-As-You-Go and clean cooking solutions (CCS) for households.

The third component of the project is standalone solar systems and solar water pumps for community facilities.

The community facilities targeted include hospitals, secondary schools and offices of local administrators. To ensure sustainability of the project, implementation support and capacity building have been factored in as the fourth component of the project.

The KOSAP beneficiary counties include Narok, West Pokot, Turkana, Samburu, Isiolo and Marsabit. Others are Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta. KOSAP is being implemented under the principles of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) with an eye on combating climate change.

The CDM process allows emission-reducing projects in developing countries, such as KOSAP, to earn Certified Emission Reduction Credits (CERs), a currency equivalent to one ton of carbon dioxide, as spelt out in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This allows for the monetization and trading of CERs under what is known as Carbon Finance.

In the case of KOSAP, the World Bank, which besides being the financier of the project, is a trustee of the Climate Change Trust Fund, has entered into an agreement with REREC, to purchase the CERs generated by the project.

The specific components of the project whose implementation will generate CERs include the sale and installation of solar home systems and solar mini-grids; standalone solar systems and solar water pumps.

A portion of the CER funds generated will be used to cater for the operations and maintenance (O&M) costs incurred by the SHS companies during the post-warranty period.

This will ensure that the units sold are in serviceable state, even after the warranties expire. The same will also be used to offset connection charges for vulnerable communities, further improving the uptake of modern, clean energy solutions in the 14 counties.

 

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