Senior officials in Kenya have said that the deployment of additional off-grid solar power projects to Kenya’s marginalised regions is in the works as the East African nation ramps up efforts to combat energy poverty and promote climate resilience at the grassroots level.
Speaking at a forum in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum Davis Chirchir stated that the state will leverage private capital and regulatory reforms to spur investments in mini-grids that will provide underserved communities with improved access to clean, reliable, and affordable sources of power.
“As a country, we have a target of ensuring all Kenyans have access to electricity by 2030,” Chirchir said. He added, “To this end, we have embraced a comprehensive approach to electrification that includes investing in mini-grids.”
The seventh Mini-Grid Action Learning Event, organised by the World Bank, Kenya’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, and the Africa Minigrid Developers Association, brought together 600 delegates to discuss innovative ways to address the continent’s energy access gap.
Peer learning, field trips, and business roundtables are among the activities planned for the Feb. 27-March 3 forum, which aims to re-energize investments in mini-grids that promise an energy-secure future for Africa’s rural and urban poor.
Chirchir stated that Kenya now has 32 operational mini-grids, with an additional nine under construction, allowing the government to increase household electricity access from 75% to 100% by 2030.
The government intends to build 136 solar-powered mini-grids in 12 arid and semi-arid counties where electricity supply is limited through the World Bank-funded Kenya Off Grid Solar Access Project, he said.
According to David Mutisya, acting director for Renewable Energy at Kenya’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, the deployment of mini-grids that primarily use solar energy has proven to be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly model for addressing the country’s energy poverty.
Mutisya stated that the state has prioritised fiscal incentives such as tax rebates, public-private partnerships, and domestic resource mobilisation in order to implement additional mini-grid projects in the country’s remote outposts.
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