Kenya to transition to renewable energy by 2020; says Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta has said his government has added 1063 megawatts of electricity to the national grid since taking over leadership in 2013.

The President announced that in the last three months, the government added 364 MW to the national grid, which included 310 MW from Lake Turkana wind farm, and 54 MW from Garissa solar plant.

The President said his government is investing in these power projects to achieve full transition to renewable energy in the next two years.

“To be more specific we, as a country, have committed ourselves to attain 100 per cent green sufficiency by 2020 and we are on the right path towards realizing that target,” said President Kenyatta.

President Kenyatta was speaking today when he presided over the ground-breaking ceremony for the 83.3 MW unit 6 of Olkaria 1 Geothermal Power Plant in Naivasha, Nakuru County.

He said as a global powerhouse in geothermal power generation, Kenya has stepped up efforts to utilize other forms of renewable energy, particularly wind, solar, small hydro power and bioenergy.

He said the government intention is to deepen the use of renewable energy, in particular solar as per the National Electrification Strategy that will be launched later this week.

“We have to use renewable sources of energy to protect our environment, and ensure that we pass down, to our sons and daughters, a country as clean and green as we inherited from our fathers,” said the President.

The President noted that when he took over the leadership of the country in 2013, access to power was under 29 percent, with only 2.2 million households connected. He said currently 6.9 million households and almost every public primary school in the country are connected to electricity.

“In five short years, we have more than tripled access to electricity, and made it far easier for our children to study without strain,” said the President. He said the government will not tire in its efforts to connect Kenyans to electricity until the entire country is covered.

The President expressed his gratitude to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) for agreeing to apply the savings from Olkaria 280MW geothermal project to finance the new project. He also commended the KenGen management and board of directors for prudently managing loan funds extended to it saying this demonstrated patriotism.

“I urge you to equally exercise similar prudence while executing this project we have just launched and other projects; and also strive for timely delivery, as you have done in the past for other projects,” said the Head of State.

The President also urged the Ministry of Energy and all infrastructure ministries and agencies to embrace consultations and effective public participation which are key to timely delivery of projects. “KenGen’s experience demonstrates clearly that consultations and effective public participation is the way to forestall any hindrances to the timely completion of projects, as important as these,” said the President.

To ensure the locals benefit from the geothermal power generated from Olkaria, President Kenyatta directed that KenGen allocates Shs 300 million to expand and install modern facilities at the Naivasha Hospital.

The President also urged KenGen to partner with the industrialization ministry and the Export Processing Zones Authority to fast track the process of putting up an industrial park in Naivasha.

He said the industrial park will help the country achieve its goal of creating jobs for the Kenyan youth besides growing Kenya’s export volumes.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said the country is currently at 90% of renewable energy and is working towards the realization of full transition to green energy within the set timeline.

Japanese Ambassador Toshitsugu Uesawa said his government will continue working closely with the Kenyan government to achieve its goal of improving livelihoods through provision of clean energy.

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