African Press International (API)

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Investing in clean energy in Kenya

Posted by African Press International on April 8, 2011

Thomas Ochieng, Kenya

By Thomas Ochieng, API-Kenya

Development partners are investing in clean energy in Kenya by developing a financing facility to help companies in the manufacturing, agribusiness, and services sectors improve their environmental performance and reduce energy costs.

During one-day workshop on March 30 in Nairobi, that brought together more than 50 experts in the energy sector to discuss potential clean energy projects, market constraints, and measures to improve investment in clean energy.

Jean Philippe Prosper, the Director for the International finance corporation (IFC) the lending arm of the World bank in Eastern and Southern Africa, emphsised that the long-term goal of the institution was to help establish a sustainable commercial lending market for sustainable energy projects in Africa that supports economic growth and protects the environment. We have to be bold and move fast to check on the climatic change by investing on green energy projects in Africa for the sustainability and prosperity of the continent for today and for the generations to come; said the director.
These sentiments were supported by Plutarchos Sakellaris, EIB Vice President for Africa, who assured the experts at the workshop that the, The European Investment Bank was  committed to ensuring adequate finance is available for renewable energy investment in East Africa. As the world’s largest clean energy investor, the EIB stands ready to ensure both expertise and funding is available for local projects and to enable clean energy to make an important contribution to the region’s energy needs; said the Vice President . He also added that the bank was committed to helping local banks develop a strong basis of clean energy projects.
Under this initiative, IFC and the EIB will offer advisory services to help participating businesses identify appropriate clean energy technologies and other ways to reduce their energy consumption. The proposed facility will provide long-term financing to help companies, especially SMEs, replace equipment and upgrade technology and systems for greater efficiency, increased productivity, cost savings, and emission reductions.

In Kenya, IFC’s Climate Change Investment Program in Africa (CIPA) has been helping financial institutions identify, evaluate, and finance viable renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change since November 2009.

However, the government of Kenya representative at the meeting implored the experts and the development partners to support the Green Energy facility (GEF) that has been established in the office of the prime minister in addressing the climate change phenomena in the country. The government official challenged the experts to come up with timely interventions that will unlock the funding aspect of the green energy projects by adopting the Kenya’s government green energy facility whereby resources are put in a pool and given to green energy projects at special borrowing arrangements and with lower interest rates, saying that was the only way to support local green energy projects in the country.
The EIB is has been supporting energy sector in Kenya and to date has lent over Ksh.180 million Euros for large-scale geothermal generation at Olkaria plant and power  transmission lines in Mombassa  over the last three years. Under this green energy initiative, IFC and the EIB will offer advisory services to help participating businesses identify appropriate clean energy technologies and
other ways to reduce their energy consumption. The proposed facility will provide long-term financing to help companies, especially SMEs, replace equipment and upgrade technology and systems for greater efficiency, increased productivity, cost savings, and emission reductions.

Ends.

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