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FOR A SOLAR ENERGY DRIVEBY THE GOVERNMENT OF KENYA:SETTING THE AFRICAN RENEWABLE

ENERGY AGENDA

Background

One of the main areas of concern in our world today is climate change andthe move to cap global
carbon emissions through investment in energyefficiency and clean energy technologies. The
culmination of theseinternational efforts is the achievement of a new international
climateagreement at the COP15 climate change conference to be held inCopenhagen in December
2009.Following on from the World Solar Summit in Harare and the launch of theWorld Solar
Programme 1996-2005 - encompassing all forms of renewableenergy, including solar thermal, solar
photovoltaic, biomass, wind, hydro,tidal, wave, ocean thermal and geothermal - UNESCO provided
theinternational community with an instrument for the promotion of renewableforms of energy.
This led to the initiation and implementation local andnational projects using energy from renewable
sources, with new andrenewable energy sources beginning to enter the mainstream of national
andinternational energy-policy formulation.Fossil-fuel reserves - especially oil, but also natural gas
and coal - areultimately finite natural resources. Together with greater energy efficiency,greater
reliance on advanced energy technologies and a more sustainableuse of traditional energy sources,
new and renewable sources of energy willhave to make a greater contribution to the future energy-
supply mix if therising global energy demand is to be met, and if energy costs, which areoften
projected to rise considerably in the future, are to remain at affordablelevels.Demand for energy is
expected to triple in the next thirty years withalternative energy anticipated to cover the gap. Solar
energy is emerging asan investment opportunity globally and its use is projected to grow by 40
percent for next five years.

Local Initiatives

In Kenya, Ministry of Energy (MoE) estimates put the figure of freemegawatts of power the country
receives from the sun every day at around3,000 million, with an annual average exposure to
sunshine of about 10hours per day in most regions, and an annual mean radiation of 4 6 KWh

per square metre. The government has gone as far as launching a blue printfor promoting Kenya's
renewable energy sources tying into The KenyaEnergy Sector Environment Program (KEEP) which
will promote efficientenergy use and environmental conservation.An estimated 220,000 solar Photo-
Voltaic (PV) and 7,000 solar thermal unitsare currently in use in Kenya with"Frequent droughts,
unpredictable oil prices call for a drastic, deliberate andaccelerated diversification of our power
generation mix in favour of financially viable green energy sources," said Energy Minister Kiraitu
MurungiBusinesses are beginning to stake more ground in the field, with a Chinesecompany, Beijing
Tianpu Xianxing Enterprises, entering into a Sh9 billionpartnership with Electrogen Technologies a
Kenyan firm to build the firstsolar panel factory in East Africa. It is estimated that the venture -

Pan African Technologies


- could see the prices of solar panels drop by up to 65per cent.Kenya Data Networks, a local
technology firm, has been able to reduce itsenergy costs by 80 per cent in the sunny season and 50
per cent during thecold season by commissioning a Sh7.4 million solar energy plant for ruralareas to
offer cost saving power solutions and ease the rollout of digitalvillages.In joint public-private Solar
initiatives, Chloride Exide (Kenya) is benefittingfrom a Sh300 million MoE government sponsored
programme to install solarelectricity converters in over 30 secondary schools in arid and semi-
aridlands in North Eastern, Eastern, Rift Valley and Coast Provinces.

The Idea

We aim to develop a policy and implementation strategy for the Governmentof Kenya to undertake
solar power installations in its buildings andassociated premises. This should see the majority of
government buildingsenergy needs derived from solar sources thus cutting down its grid-
basedelectricity needs dramatically. While this seems an enormous task, it is ourbelief a pilot based
on the long-term cost-benefit analysis should indicate theCarbon trading energy saved from solar
installations can be traded to othercountries under the Kyoto Protocol where developing countries
may sellemission credits and receive funds and technology from Annex II countriesfor climate-
related studies and projects.Where has this worked before? As part of the World Solar Programme
1996-2005, the Secretariat of the World Solar Commission initiated the

implementation of some High Priority National Projects (HPNP) with one of the Zimbabwe HPNPs -
Solar Electrification of Rural Institutions - receiving aUSS10.5 million funding in the form of a grant
from the Italian Governmentand in other in another country, the Umbuji village in Zanzibar,
Tanzania wasequipped with solar energy equipment for households. The continued commitment of
the World Bank Group to the practical,effective and direct promotion of new and renewable sources
of energy isalso manifested in the recent decision to rely on renewable energy for 100per cent of the
power needs of its headquarters in Washington, D.C.Around the world, solar power is slowly gaining
recognition as a reliable andcheap form of energy. Internet firm, Google, recently implemented
theworld's largest corporate solar installation, installing 9,212 solar panels togain 1,600 kilowatts to
power the firms offices.

Core Components (The Strategy)

The strategy entails:

Gain visibility for the Governments drive to be an energy policy leaderin the developing world,

To build the case for adoption of Feed-In Tariffs by the government toencourage the further
development of renewable sources of energy,

Expand the benefits of carbon trading in a world that is becomingincreasingly aware of climate
change

References

Report of the Secretary-General, 25 July 2005, Promotion of newand renewable sources of energy,
including the culmination of theWorld Solar Programme 1996-2005, United Nations General
Assembly Sixtieth Session.Kui Kinyanjui, Business Daily (Nairobi), 17 August 2007Source: Renewable
Energy for Development, World Bank Group,Washington, D.C. (May 2004); see
www.worldbank.org.Kefa V. O. Rabah, Renewable Energy, Volume 30, Issue 1, January 2005, Pages
23-42Ramadhan Rajab, The East African Standard, 16

th

July 2009.