East Africa banks on green energy to drive growth

East African countries may soon emerge as global leaders in green energy, if efforts put by the various governments to exploit sources of renewable energy are attained.

Various stakeholders attending the East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) in Nairobi yesterday agreed that universal access to affordable energy could only be achieved by exploiting clean energy. Energy and Petroleum Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge said the Government is committed to using renewable energy to access modern energy. “The Government of Kenya is committed to increasing access to modern energy, and will use Renewable Energy solutions as much as possible,” said Eng Njoroge while addressing delegates. He said there are several ongoing projects to tap into green energy. “I see a lot of development in the clean power market in the area, but also a lot of isolated initiatives,” explained Jonker Klunne, Clean Power East Africa chairman.

Growing interest:

He continued: “I am very excited about current development in the field. For a long time we have not seen such an interest in renewable energy, in rural electrification and in isolated mini grids.” Kenya Renewable Energy Association chairman Charles Muchunku said the association has been promoting and creating awareness on renewable energy as well as providing information on renewable energy markets.

Djibouti’s Minister of Energy Ali Yacoub Mohamoud said his government placed energy as its main priority with the specific aim of exploiting renewable energy. “Although this is a global challenge, access to energy is the main obstacle to development in the region,” said Mr Mohamoud. According to Kenya Power, over 80 per cent of Kenya’s energy mix is derived from renewable energy, mainly from cheaper geothermal and hydropower sources. The company’s managing director, Ben Chumo, in a statement, said hybrid systems for off-grid areas incorporating wind and solar energy in northern Kenya have been installed.