NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenyan and Finnish officials on Friday held
discussions on the possibility of cooperating to boost Kenya’s
renewable energy sector.
Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintila told a media
roundtable in Nairobi that his country has expertise in
executing renewable energy projects.
“We discussed with
Kenya ministry of energy officials on the possibility of Finnish
companies investing into the renewable sector, especially in the
solar, wind and the waste-to-energy sector,” Lintila said.
A Finish business
delegation led by Lintila, comprising of 30 companies in the
area of energy, healthcare and agriculture, is visiting Kenya.
He said Finnish
companies are keen to help Kenya convert its thermal power
plants that use heavy fuels to use natural gas.
As Kenya moves
toward industrialization, it will require both affordable and
green energy to power its industries, said Lintila, who was in
the country from Thursday to Friday to promote trade and
investments with Kenya.
FinnFund, a Finnish
development finance company, has already invested 20 million
euros (about 22.75 milion U.S. dollars) in the Lake Turkana Wind
Power project, which seeks to add 310 MW of electricity to the
national grid next month.
The fund has also
provided finance of about 30 million euros (about 34.13 milion
dollars) toward the construction of renewable power projects
that will soon be commissioned.
Due to advances in
technology, the cost of renewable energy is reducing and
becoming more competitive than conventional sources of
electricity, Lintila noted.
Africa has the
potential to reach universal energy access by 2030 but will need
to grow its electricity market by 8.4 percent annually, he said.
Universal access to
electricity in Africa requires huge investments in new power
infrastructure that will have to be built in a relatively short
period of time, Lintila said.
development manager of Finnish energy firm Wartsila Corporation,
said Kenya has a great opportunity to switch to green energy,
given its low energy consumption.
Wartsila has so far
installed power generators that are producing approximately 440
MW in Kenya, Oywer said.
The Finnish firm is
the engineer, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for
two solar power plants in Kenya, each of which are expected to
supply 40 MW to the national grid.
“In the past eight
years, foreign direct investment in geothermal and clean energy
projects has been close to 3 billion U.S. dollars in total. This
indicates that Kenya is well on its way to achieve its ambitious
target of universal energy accessibility by 2030,” Oywer said.
It is estimated that
by 2030, annual demand for electricity in Kenya will grow to 15
GW and its installed capacity will rise to 19.2 GW.
hydropower now accounts for 36 percent of power generation in
Kenya, followed by thermal power at 31 percent, geothermal power
at 28 percent, and other renewables at 5 percent.