While Kenya’s oil-producing capabilities are limited, the country has made great progress in the field of renewable energy – and there is yet room for more. In November 2021, Kenya will be among eight East African nations to participate in the Africa Oil Week (AOW). As a precaution for Covid-19, AOW will be hosted in Dubai this year before returning to its base in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2022. Kenya will be joined in Dubai by ministerial delegations from Rwanda, Djibouti, Eritrea, Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Burundi.
Kenya will take center stage at AOW, with Hon. John Munyes, who serves as the Cabinet Secretary in charge of the Petroleum and Mining docket, confirming his attendance. He will speak at high-level ministerial forums as well as at a specialized national energy showcase with NOC Kenya CEO Leparan Gideon Morintat and Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) Acting Director-General Daniel Kiptoo Bargoria.
“Kenya is without a dispute one of the continent’s most appealing energy economies,” says Paul Sinclair, AOW’s Vice President of Energy. “Following a recent meeting with its minister, it is apparent that this year’s AOW and Future Energy Series: Africa investment drive will be exciting. Kenya has built a strong policy to facilitate substantial capital inflows into the industry, and we are looking forward to seeing the most of it.”
In its comprehensive power development strategy for the period between 2017 – 2037, the Kenyan government aimed to increase renewable energy generation. According to the report, renewable energy sources are expected to generate over 60% of the country’s installed power capacity by 2037.
In recent years, the government has implemented steps to encourage investment in the renewable energy sector, including introducing new energy legislation in 2019 that intends to boost the sector. New agencies have been established to govern the production, supply, marketing, conversion, distribution, and use of renewables, as well as incentives for renewable energy generation. Some stamp duty exemptions, tax breaks, and the creation of public-private partnerships (PPP) between the renewable energy enterprises and government are among them.
These activities, taken together, are assisting in putting Kenya’s renewable energy sector on the map. This isn’t to suggest that the situation isn’t fraught with issues. Kenya must budget for the long lead period – between 5 and 7 years – from concept to production when purchasing geothermal energy. Furthermore, the initial investment costs will be enormous, necessitating significant investment in distribution and other support facilities to existing load centers. There will also be a significant degree of risk associated with resource exploration and development.
The problems in hydropower generating are also numerous. Water levels in reservoirs are being altered by hydrology and climate change. People will have to be moved and resettled to make place for the development of new reservoirs, as well as hydropower management, which has been hampered by a lack of synergies and conflicting interests.