Dividends follow Obama visit as Kenya power bids take shape
WASHINGTON, USA-- The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has given an outline of the eenrgy initiatives earmarked for Kenya in the wake of President Barack Obama’s visit in mid-year.
During the Usafrica Business Forum, the USTDA launched its largest single investment in Kenya’s power sector to date.
At a ceremony witnessed by the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, the Honorabl William Ruto, and Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz, USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak announced support for six projects that will identify US solutions that can help increase access to affordable, reliable electricity across Kenya and help diversify the country’s energy mix. The projects will also boost Kenya’s renewable energy profile.
These include the Gitaru Solar PV Plant. USTDA Director Zak and Albert Mugo, Managing Director and CEO, Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited (Kengen), signed a grant agreement to support the development of a 10-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) project. The project, which is co-located with an existing Kengen-owned hydro plant, will be Kengen’s first utility scale solar asset.
USTDA will partner with Quaint Energy Kenya Ltd. to develop the 40 MW Nyakwere Hills Solar PV Plant in eastern Kenya.
Successful project implementation would reduce or avoid tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year as an alternative to fossil fuel power sources.
Zak and Alfred Achar, Managing Director, Quaint Energy Kenya, signed the grant agreement.
In the Solar Microgrid Solutions for Island and Village Electrification project, USTDA and Renewable World East Africa, an energy access non-profit organization, will develop minigrid solar and battery storage systems at eight locations across Kenya. These will have a combined 1.5 MW of new power generation capacity. On completion an estimated 4,500 households and businesses will benefit. The feasibility study will be conducted by Renewvia Energy Corporation, an American company which is sharing its costs. Renewvia CEO Trey Jarrard signed the cost share agreement along with Zak.
For the Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant, USTDA will partner with Akiira Geothermal Limited to assess the viability of a 70 MW geothermal power plant northwest of Nairobi.
When completed it would provide clean, baseload renewable power and support Kenya’s participation in the regional power pool. Zak and Paul Stroud, a Board Member of Akiira Geothermal Limited, signed the grant agreement. Other projects include the Lamu Gas-to-power Project.