Kipeto Wind Farm loan agreement
Peter Kinyanjui (Kipeto Energy PLC bird observer) monitoring soaring raptors along one of the ridges at South of the windfarm using a telescope.

BTE Renewables, an Actis company, alongside Craftskills Limited and The Nature Conservancy have arranged a loan agreement for the Kipeto Wind Power Project (Kipeto) in Kenya.

Sourced from The Nature Conservancy and private impact investors, the $10 million loan will facilitate funding over the life of the project towards implementing local human-wildlife initiatives in the surrounding areas. The $10 million loan helps bring together multiple parties in the interest of advancing conservation and demonstrating new models of funding.

Kipeto reached full commercial operations in July 2021 and is supplying 100MW of additional power to the Kenya national grid, making this project the second largest wind power project in Kenya and providing clean power to approximately 250,000 households.

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Located in Kajiado county, 45km from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, Kipeto is implementing a biodiversity action plan which comprises close collaboration with the local community to protect the surrounding flora and fauna. The biodiversity plan was developed in consultation with various nature and wildlife conservation experts and includes several projects to improve the livelihoods of the community through local job creation and building improved predator-proof animal enclosures for local farmers. The biodiversity plan also aims to ensure the preservation of endangered species of vultures by undertaking activities such as enhanced monitoring and carcass clearance while implementing shutdown on demand and raptor rescue protocols.

Monitoring and recording of raptors flying through the windfarm and close to the turbines by Jonathan Kotikash and Sylvester Karimi (both Kipeto Energy PLC bird observers).

BTE Renewables and The Nature Conservancy designed the investment via a $10 million fixed-rate mezzanine loan to the Kipeto wind project, alongside a commitment by the project to provide annual funding for critical conservation initiatives throughout the life of the wind power project. The use of this funding is governed by the biodiversity subcommittee of Kipeto’s Board, which comprises leading independent local and international avifauna organisations. In connection with the loan, The Nature Conservancy has joined Kipeto’s biodiversity committee and will provide technical assistance for the committee’s implementation of the biodiversity plan.

The biodiversity plan includes both on-site mitigation measures and off-site vulture conservation interventions, including radio tracking and awareness programmes within communities, to decrease human-wildlife conflict, such as poisoning. The shutdown-on-demand and carcass removal activities relate to on-site avoidance interventions.

Head of Africa at Actis, Lisa Pinsley commented: “We are proud for our portfolio company BTE Renewables and the landmark Kipeto project to be entering into this engagement with The Nature Conservancy, utilising the creativity and expertise at both organizations to come together and support sustainable infrastructure development.”

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Business Development Director at BTE Renewables, Nikhath Zigmund commented: “This collaboration between BTE Renewables and The Nature Conservancy demonstrates the opportunities for private capital to be deployed in novel ways to address conservation challenges. We look forward to working closely with The Nature Conservancy on the Kipeto biodiversity committee to support the needs of the local community and also honour our commitment to the net gain of critically endangered vultures.”

Managing director of The Nature Conservancy’s NatureVest impact investing team, Charlotte Kaiser commented: “With the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, we must find every available opportunity to invest in ways that benefit nature and people together. Thanks to the commitment of all of Kipeto’s partners and the investors funding this loan, we are able to support biodiversity and communities while also investing in the renewable energy infrastructure that is a critical part of the fight against climate change.”