Temperatures in Nairobi, Kenya, reach 35 degrees centigrade in the summer months. Over five hundred kilometers away is the town of Malindi, where a brand new photovoltaic solar project is kicking off. If Kenyan engineers are looking to work in renewable energy, their chance has arrived.
The Malindi project will be the first utility-scale independent power project the country will see. Globeleq is a company hailing from the United Kingdom, and is heading up the project. They are also investing in renewable energy solutions in South Africa.
The company will be selling electricity to Kenya’s national electricity provider Kenya Power, recently agreeing to a 20-year deal.
Paul Hanrahan, Globeleq’s CEO, told media:
“The attractive investment climate combined with strong local community support sets the stage for this important project as well as future investments in Kenya. We are extremely pleased to be making this investment into the Kenyan energy sector.”
The construction will be complete and in operation by mid-2020, producing up to 40 megawatts of power. The rights to the land, the environmental impact assessment and the necessary permits needed for constructing have all been procured. The project’s construction has received nearly $100 million dollars AUD in funding from investors, who will all be enjoying a cut of the eventual profit. The engineering companies behind sourcing the necessary technology and constructing the actual plant are Sterling and Wilson Solar.
Kenya, unlike many of its other neighboring countries, is opening their energy market up to whatever entities may be able to provide electricity to its people. They intend to rely less on coal powered power stations and move to more renewable sources. It is all a part of the government’s National Electrification Strategy which aims to power Kenya by completely green energy by 2020.
A recent coal power plant construction reaching completion in Kenya is undergoing scrutiny for purportedly lying about the price of the electricity that will be produced at the power plant. The plant in Lamu, Kenya, is seeing a big level of pushback after the revelations were made public. Experts are saying the entire project should be scrapped.
The Kenyan government and the World Bank set up a $67 million dollar AUD facility under a project named Kenya-Off-Grid-Solar to further develop the private solar sector, in hopes that they can bring electricity to 14 communities that have been lacking energy solutions.
Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Joseph Njoroge, said:
“The country has made great strides in achieving connectivity with access to electricity standing at 75% though both grid and off-grid options. However, access to electricity is low in the 14 marginalized counties, which represent 72% of the country’s total land area and 20% of the population.
“Kenya in $47m Financing to Provide Solar Solutions.” Journal Du Cameroun, 11 June 2019, www.journalducameroun.com/en/kenya-in-47m-financing-to-provide-solar-solutions/.
“Kenya: First Utility-Scale IPP Solar Project Achieves Financial Close.” ESI, 3 June 2019, www.esi-africa.com/industry-sectors/renewable-energy/kenya-first-utility-scale-ipp-solar-project-achieves-financial-close/.