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Sep 19, 2018

Renewable Energy Policy Dialogue: Shaping the green growth agenda in Kenya

Lack of Electricity Access in Africa 

One of the foremost challenges holding back African development is a lack of access to electricity. While the African Union 2063 Agenda stresses that energy is the key to economic growth, only 30% of Africans are currently connected to the grid. 

However, it is important that Kenya and other African countries not choose to expand access to electricity in an unsustainable way.  Luckily, Kenya’s natural abundance in solar, hydro, wind, biomass and geothermal resources, means the country boasts of many alternatives to fossil fuels. By tapping into these renewable energy sources, Kenya can simultaneously mitigate climate change, boost economic growth through “green” job creation, and reduce povertythrough all of the benefits that access to electricity brings. 

Kenyan Renewable Energy Policy 

The Kenyan government has taken note of this and begun to incorporate expansion of renewable energy into its policies. In addition to partaking in international agreements- such as committing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2015 Paris Agreement-, policies such as Energy Act 2006 stressed finding reliable, and cost-effective energy while also protecting the environment. 

However, there are still gaps and loopholes that need to be closed. In particular, current legislation regarding biofuels and alternative heating sources has been found to be either unclear or nonexistent. This lack of detailed policy presents a great barrier to the expansion of the renewable energy sector. 

Renewable Energy Policy Dialogue 

To address these gaps, Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) along with German political foundation Friedrich Ebert Stiftunghave decided to organize a meeting called Renewable Energy Policy Dialogue: Shaping the Green Growth Agenda.It will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi on Thursday, 20 September.

The goal of the dialogue is to discuss policy and legislative solutions to promote the use of affordable and sustainable energy in Kenya. Specifically, the aims of the meeting are threefold:

  1. Provide options/recommendations on enhancing the green growth agenda through promoting of affordable and sustainable renewable energy options
  2. Discuss the existing policy, institutional and legislative framework that affects the biofuels sector. 
  3. Explore opportunities for collaboration and synergy creation among likeminded institutions and projects

The day will consist of panel discussions in addition to a presentation of a research paper on Just Energy Transition in Kenya by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Panelists will include Edward Mungai, CEO of KCIC, representatives from HIVOSand the Ministry of Energy, and PACJA, amongst others. 

Private sector innovation in climate change technologies is the first step in ensuring a more sustainable future. However, such innovations can only go so far if there is not an enabling political environment to back it. 


By: Alise Brillault 

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