By Telford Aduda
Kenya has signed a Sh220 billion deal to develop a 1000MW solar power project over the next five years with the support of Canadian energy firm, SkyPower.
The agreement with SkyPower was signed during the sixth Global entrepreneurship Summit that ended on Sunday at Gigiri, Nairobi. A planned Sh220 billion investment in solar power will be spread across various counties in Kenya. The solar power plant, which will be developed in five phases over the next five years, will be hosted in sites such as Lamu, Malindi, Kajiado, Kisumu, Kakamega and Baringo. This follows Sunday’s signing of an agreement between the ministry of energy, represented by Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge, and SkyPower President and Chief Executive Kerry Adler to construct 1,000MW solar plants in different parts of the country.
The move is in a bid to increase the share of renewable energy onto the national grid. The landmark deal will be signed Sunday between SkyPower and Kenya’s ministry of energy. According to Kerry Adler, the SkyPower president and chief executive officer, the company intends to develop world class solar projects in Kenya to be built in four phases over the next five years. He added that the project will include 200MW of Fabrication and assembly plants.
The announcement, made during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), underlines the raft of investment deals signed between global companies, financiers, entrepreneurs and governments.
SkyPower has developed over 25GW of solar power projects worldwide, with 6 GW having been recently announced in bilateral agreements for development in Egypt and Nigeria over the next five years.
In March this year, SkyPower and International Gulf Development (IGD) signed an agreement with the government of Egypt to develop 3 GW of solar power, a project that would be implemented over four years at a cost of a $5 billion.
Kenya is keen to ramp up its power capacity to 5,000MW by 2018. Currently, the country has an installed power capacity of about 2,000MW. The country is moving to tap into renewable power production sources such as geothermal, wind and solar.
The country is also targeting to explore a coal project in Kitui to boost power capacity, a development set to bring down the cost of power and of doing business in the country.
A number of deals seeking to increase power production in the country were also signed at the GES meeting in Nairobi. US multinational, General Electric (GE), signed a Sh15 billion deal with Kenya’s Kipeto Energy to build a 100MW wind power station in Kajiado County.
The Sh15.5 billion ($155 million) deal also includes a 15 year service agreement, with GE being the sole supplier of wind turbines and other equipment for the project.
Earlier this month, power producer, KenGen said it would build a 400 MW wind power plant in Meru beginning next year. The first phase of the project, which will generate 100 MW, will cost Sh27 billion and is set for completion in 2017.
Kenya, in collaboration with private investors and development finance institutions is also developing a 300MW Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in the north-east part of the country.
The renewable energy initiatives in the country demonstrate increasing governments, private sector and development financiers in fulfilling President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, which seeks to add more than 30,000 MW of “cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity as well as increased power access with 60 million new connections throughout Sub-Saharan Africa”.