In February, Kenyans awoke to news that has become an annual ritual: Authorities were considering temporarily shutting down hydropower dams, the country’s largest source of electricity. The reason was the one given each dry season for the last four years – too long without rain had left too little water in reservoirs to turn the turbines and generate power. Kenya Power Ltd., the national electricity utility, has so far always managed to avoid a full shutdown, instead turning off just a few turbines at a time. But to make up the gap it has turned to more expensive – and polluting – diesel generators to keep the country plugged in.
(By Luther-Jones Natasha/Daily Monitor, 26 March 2018)
- Regional attention . Discussing solutions. Recently at the East Africa Energy and Infrastructure Summit that took place in Kampala, PPAs, and potential off-grid solutions, took centre stage, attracting delegates from international equity investors and debt providers, leading international utility and regulatory companies, as well as a variety of African organisations from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia.
When the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) was founded eight years ago, the general public thought that renewable energies would never replace oil and coal. Today, the tables have turned. Dr. Frank Rijsberman has been the director general of the institute since 2016, and for him, green growth is no longer a matter of morality, but of economics. Renewable energies are now cheaper than fossil fuels. They create employment, do not pollute and provide countries with the amount of energy they need. Last week he joined several side events at the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
GGGI is an intergovernmental organisation that works with over 60 countries. It seeks commitments among governments and private companies to switch to green growth—economic growth that takes into account environmental sustainability. The organisation, based in Seoul, South Korea, works mainly with governments that express an interest in sustainable growth. Its work does not directly depend on changes in administrations.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, has committed $25 million in financing to the Solar Energy Transformation Fund LLC, which will provide loans to companies developing off-grid solar products and solutions for the millions of people in Sub Saharan Africa and Asia who lack access to electricity.
The Solar Energy Transformation Fund is managed by SunFunder, a solar energy finance business working to make off-grid solar lighting and energy solutions more widely available in developing countries. Solar power is an effective way to bring cleaner and more affordable electricity to people who live in remote areas that are not connected or have unreliable connections to central electricity grids.