Renewable Energy Is Kenya’s Priority

The population of the Republic of Kenya is approximately 53.77 million people[1]. In 2018, 75.0% of the people in this east African country had access to electricity[2].

Kenya’s economy is ranked 23rd among the forty-seven countries in Sub-Sahara Africa[3]. The country’s major industries include agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, manufacturing, and tourism.

In 2019, Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) used renewable energy (86.2%), petroleum (10.8%), and natural gas (3.0%) to generate electricity in the country[4]. Geothermal, hydropower, and wind, are the primary sources of renewable energy in Kenya.

In 2016, Kenya signed the Paris Climate Agreement and committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by 30% below “a business as usual” scenario. Kenya’s government has also committed to generate 90% of its electrical power by 2030.

In December 2018, Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta announced plans to move the country to 100% green energy by 2020. The plans are designed to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, while creating much-needed jobs. Recent renewable energy projects in Kenya include:

  • 310 MW Wind Farm – In July 2019, the Lake Turkana Wind Power project commenced operation. The wind farm is located approximately 300 miles north of the capital, Nairobi.
  • Solar Desalination Plant – The Marco Borero Company has recently completed the construction of a solar powered desalination plant located near the coastal town of Mombasa. The plant generates over 18,000 gallons of potable water per day.
  • Geothermal Project – The Geothermal Development Company has commenced drilling to appraise the energy potential of a site approximately 175 miles northwest of Nairobi. The Kenyan company estimates the site has the potential to support a 600 MW capacity geothermal power plant.
  • 5 MW Solar Park – The Marco Borero Company has commenced construction on a solar photovoltaic project in central Kenya. The Kenyan company is scheduled to complete the solar project by year-end 2020. Power from the solar park will be sold through a power purchase agreement to the state electric company, KPLC
  • Hydropower Tender – The National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority has launched a tender for the construction of a multi-purpose dam in western Kenya. The project will include a 2.5 MW hydroelectric power plant.

Kenya has significant undeveloped geothermal, hydropower, wind, and solar energy potential. Unlike most developed and undeveloped countries, Kenya has made the development of renewable energy a national priority.

Kenya is one of the few countries in the world on track to meet its commitments in the Paris Climate Paris Accord. The county is also on track to meet’s goal of generating 100% of its electrical power by 2030.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


[1] Kenya Population (2020) –  September 11, 2020

[2] Kenya – The World Bank Group

[3] The Heritage Foundation – Kenya

[4] International Energy Agency – Kenya Energy Outlook, November 22, 2019

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