16 September 2010 – Kenya has urged the European Union to set up an insurance fund to cushion the African governments against investments in energy production projects.
Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi told the African-EU high level partnership meeting here in Vienna, Austria that lack of such an insurance, was holding back most developing countries from venturing into such projects.
Do not yield results
“We need to be able to cushion government investments that do not yield the desired results like sinking a well without the expected geothermal production that will call for a new one. It is an expensive affair that African countries need to be insured against,” said the minister.
Otherwise, Mr Kiraitu said, governments will find themselves shouldering debts that they can ill afford. Investors, on the other hand, according to the minister, will not risk in case they sink a dry well unless they are insured.
The minister was leading the Kenyan delegation which included the Ministry’s permanent secretary Patrick Nyoike, Geothermal Development Company managing director Dr Silas Simiyu, MP Magarer Langat and Kenya’s ambassador to Austria Ukur Yatani.
During the two-day conference, EU and African ministers of Energy adopted an Africa-EU development co-operation which targets to produce renewable energy for.
Dr Elham Ibrahim told Energy ministers that they have to consolidate their efforts if they are to realise the targets of installing 10,000 MW energy outlets, 5000MW wind energy production units and 500 MW of solar energy production across the continent.
This commissioner for Energy at the European Commission said that it is in so doing that Africa and the European commission will be able to increase access to renewable energy by 50 per cent by 2020.
“We will also have to triple the capacity for other renewable energy forms,” she says.
But Mr Kiraitu said these targets were low because in Kenya, for instance, the country’s geothermal potential stands at 600 MW by 2013.
Currently, the country is running on 200MW and a new line of Olkaria IV and expanding Olkaria I which targets the 400MW, according to Mr Nyoike.
Similarly, Mr Kiraitu, said Kenya is targeting to produce 14 MW wind energy at a cost of 20 million euro already paid by Spain and an extra 6.4 MW at a cost of 10 million Euro from Belgium.
The construction will be in Marsabit County in Laisamis. Currently only 200MW of wind energy are on use in Ngong.
The European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger has urged African Energy Minister to concentrate their energies on renewable energy who potential rivals energy supply for France, Germany and Italy put together. And that is in hydro-energy alone.
Mr Oettinger said challenges for sustainable energy brings Africa and Europe together and in so doing it would be easier to develop solutions together for energy efficiency and access.
“Successful fight against poverty and hunger, interestingly had a high dependency degree to access to energy,” he said.