Kenya steps up switch to green energy

Kenya has entered into a deal with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to strengthen the country’s green hydrogen investments with a commitment by the global lender to mobilise an initial EUR1.8 million (about Kes244.5 million) worth of grants from the European Union even as the lender appraises Nairobi for possible loan financing.

Thomas Östros, EIB Vice President and Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof Njuguna Ndung’u have signed the Joint Declaration on Renewable Clean Hydrogen following talks on green hydrogen investment with President William Ruto.

“Kenya has some of the best renewable energy sources in the world if the storage components were equally developed. The route to storage has the potential to develop green hydrogen to deliver sustainable, green, and inclusive growth,” noted Prof Ndung’u.

This week, the Cabinet lifted a ban on new electricity supply deals as Dr Ruto’s administration seeks to add clean generation capacity at a time when reservoirs for hydro electricity are at an all-time low due to lack of rains which is partly attributable to climate change.

“Today’s agreement builds on decades of close cooperation with the European Investment Bank to support renewable energy across Kenya. Together we will develop projects that will develop green hydrogen as part of the Kenya Energy Roadmap 2040,” added Prof Ndung’u.

“Kenya’s wind and solar power can be harnessed to produce green hydrogen and provide affordable power for economic development and industrial growth,” Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir said.

The Energy minister said the deal between Kenya and the EIB will go a long way in helping to understand how best to identify, structure, unlock and implement green hydrogen investment.

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“Development of green hydrogen in Kenya has the potential to enable 100 percent of Kenya’s energy needs to be supplied by clean power,” said Mr Chirchir.

Energy experts say investment in Kenya and across Africa’s renewable energy industry could see the continent leapfrog the green transition efforts and in turn hook a significant segment of her population to the grid. Currently, only 48 percent of Africa’s population is connected to the grid.

Over the last decade, EIB has provided over EUR5.3 billion for energy investment across Africa, including EUR418 million for geothermal, wind, and solar as well as grid investment in Kenya.

“As part of Team Europe, the European Investment Bank stands ready to enhance cooperation to develop public and private sector investment that uses wind, solar and geothermal resources to produce green hydrogen, combat climate change, and support economic development in Kenya,” noted Mr Östros.

Our energy and finance experts at the EIB Regional Hub in Nairobi and at headquarters will work closely with Kenyan partners to identify and develop new renewable energy projects and unlock the construction of hydrogen production infrastructure,” he said.

European Union Ambassador to Kenya Henriette Geiger said, “The European Union and Kenya are committed to tackling climate change and increasing the use of renewable energy. The new agreement between the EIB, the EU Bank, and Kenya will accelerate identification and investment in green hydrogen in Kenya and harness renewable energy to deliver affordable and sustainable energy.”

The new agreement will strengthen cooperation to support the development of green hydrogen schemes in Kenya. The EIB expects to initially mobilise EUR1.8 million of grants from the European Union and to appraise possible loan financing for larger green hydrogen-related investment.

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