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Africa|Energy|Hydropower|Infrastructure|Petroleum|Power|Solar|Systems|Technology|Power Generation|Power-generation|Infrastructure
Africa|Energy|Hydropower|Infrastructure|Petroleum|Power|Solar|Systems|Technology|Power Generation|Power-generation|Infrastructure
africa|energy|hydropower|infrastructure|petroleum|power|solar|systems|technology|power-generation|power-generation-industry-term|infrastructure

Kenyan official highlights importance of green energy to his country and to Africa

17th May 2023

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Africa still has 589-million people who have no access to electricity, Kenyan Ministry of Energy and Petroleum Principal Secretary (equivalent to director-general in South Africa) Alex Wachira pointed out at the Enlit Africa conference in Cape Town on Wednesday. This represents 80% of all the people in the world without electricity access.

Kenya itself has one of the lowest per capita consumptions of electricity in Africa, and it is the policy of the government to increase access to electricity. This involves a focus on “last mile” connections, linking people to the grid.

But there are remote communities in the country, which are difficult and expensive to connect to the grid. So, the policy is to create microgrids to serve these communities (using distributed generation systems).

(In parallel, Kenya is seeking to increase people’s access to clean cooking fuels, for example biogas.)

Regarding the transition to low-carbon energy, Kenya has long relied on low-carbon energy sources to generate its electricity. Wachira stated that the percentage of the country’s electricity generated by low-carbon sources was now 92%. The country’s green electricity sources include hydropower, wind and some solar. (Perhaps oddly, he did not mention Kenya’s significant geothermal power generation capacity, second only to its hydroelectric output.)

He urged other African countries to embrace low-carbon energy sources and to implement just energy transitions. However, he asserted, “Africa must do it for ourselves”.

He acknowledged that the continent faced challenges, such as raising the requisite finance. But, he affirmed, it was time to stop complaining, it was time “to get our hands dirty” and move to clean energy. He noted that the continent had a hydropower potential of 350 GW, as well as huge solar power potential.

He cited the example of Morocco, which was developing major solar power infrastructure, with the aim of selling electricity to its European neighbours, starting with Spain but subsequently other Western European countries as well. Other African countries could also sell electricity to their neighbours in the continent.

Kenya, for example, now had two cross-border interconnectors. That with Ethiopia was recent. That with Uganda was one of the oldest interconnections in Africa. Kenya was seeking to upgrade the Uganda interconnector and extend it to Rwanda and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, supplying green electricity to them also.

African countries, asserted Wachira, had to embrace clean energy technology and work together, to achieve a just energy transition.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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