February 13, 2015

Kenyan Government Lobbies Urge Policy Reforms to Boost Green Energy Access

The Kenyan government must reform policy and regulatory environment to facilitate investments in clean energy, green lobbies said on Wednesday.

Representatives of conservation groups noted that access to clean sources of energy remained a mirage in Kenya due to financing, technological and policy shortfalls.

“Kenya has vast renewable energy potential that should be exploited to accelerate low carbon economic growth. There is need to reorganize fragmented policies and strengthen technical know- how to address energy poverty in the country,” Kenya Climate Change Working Group chairman John Kioli told journalists in Nairobi.

The lobby groups have petitioned the government to eliminate hurdles that limit uptake of clean energy sources in poor settings. Kioli noted that Kenya’s poor are still relying on carbon emitting sources of energy like firewood, charcoal and kerosene.

“An estimated 90 percent of rural households depend on biomass for cooking and lighting. The scenario is to blame for forest degradation and the attendant environmental risks,” Kioli told reporters.
Kenya has developed a renewable energy policy that encourages public private partnerships to exploit geothermal, wind and solar.

Green advocates stressed that financial incentives were crucial to encourage investments in clean energy sources. “We must knock down red tape which discourages investors from setting up projects in renewable energy,” said Kioli.

Johnson Kimani, an energy specialist, noted that Kenya’s renewable energy sector has the potential to leapfrog the country to new industrial status.

“Smart grids have already been established to supply Kenyans with clean and affordable energy. We need to scale up investments in this sector to green our productive sectors of the economy,” said Kimani, adding that demand for clean energy sources will increase as the current slump on global oil prices persist.

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