Mapping Kenya’s Energy Future: 16 Counties Chart Course for Investment and Intervention

Engineer Isaac Kiva (left) and Mr Martin Andersen during the SETA closeout conference in Nairobi.

Energy sector actors have revealed that around 16 counties are close to finalizing their County Energy Plans (CEPs), a vital obligation outlined in the Energy Act (2019).

The CEPs are the foundation for the Integrated National Energy Plan (INEP), which guides Kenya’s energy sector over the short, medium, and long term.

The energy plans map out the sources and utilization of the energy mix. They also provide a basis for investment and intervention. The plan is based on economic, socio-political, and technical issues.

The European Union (EU)-funded Sustainable Energy Technical Assistance (SETA) project, which focuses on renewable energy, energy access, and energy efficiency, ended last week.

SETA provided technical assistance through a team of experts, on-the-job training, and document production during the three-and-a-half-year project.

The EU funded SETA with 4 million Euros of technical support. However, the conference in Nairobi learned that 25 counties have yet to start their energy plans.

During the project’s closeout conference in Nairobi, experts noted that it will require about Ksh. 300 million to help the remaining counties meet the renewable energy obligation.

The Secretary for Renewable Energy, Engineer Isaac Kiva, challenged counties to allocate resources to finalize their CEPs so that Kenya can have a consolidated INEP for rollout.

“Completion of the CEPs is critical because they form the core components of the Integrated National Energy Plan (INEP) as specified in the Energy Act (2019),” he noted.

He added that an INEP cannot exclude any county, and there is a need for more partner support to develop institutional capacity for Kenya’s sustainable energy sector.

The SETA team, led by Jean-Paul Claude, Mr. Jechonia Kitala, and Ms. Emma Nyabicha, expressed delight, adding that the project had sparked serious interest in the renewable energy sector.

“Counties are now highly aware that energy is a key enabler and cannot be addressed in isolation,” noted Kitala, a senior energy project manager, and capacity-building expert.

As the Millennium Development Goals process has shown, measurable goals with widespread consensus can mobilize entire societies.

Sustainable Development Goal number 7 calls for ensuring access to clean and affordable energy, which is crucial for other sectors’ development.

The Director of Renewable Energy, Mr. Dan Marangu, noted that the SETA project is a strategic journey towards achieving Sustainable Energy for All by 2030 under the SE4All framework.

“The most critical aspect is that the mapping considers the fact that indigenous energies are competitive for the economy,” noted Mr. Marangu.

Mr. Martin Andersen, Head of Infrastructure & Energy at the European Delegation in Kenya, praised the country for its robust green grid, which is about 90% renewable.

“This milestone is impressive. It is what most countries in the world aspire to. We are proud of Kenya, and we will support the country in achieving a 100% green grid,” he noted.

He added that the EU is also supporting other interesting emerging areas in Kenya, such as green hydrogen, which is set to create more jobs.

Green hydrogen is a clean energy source produced by electrolyzing water with renewable electricity to separate hydrogen from oxygen, with close to zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr. Andersen reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to supporting Kenya’s “Green Resilient Electricity System,” which will strengthen transmission and stimulate the development of green energy.

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