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Finance and Policy  
3 May 2017

Power Africa supports Kenya’s green energy ambition

In East Africa, two Kenyan power companies have received financial support from the US government’s initiative, Power Africa, to maximise the generation of green energy.

The Daily Nation reported that the funds will assist in accelerating the production of geothermal and solar energy. Read more...

The US Trade and Development Agency, under the Power Africa initiative, awarded $1.1 million to Xago Africa and another $500,000 to the state-owned Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen).

Media reported that the funding will enable Xago to install Kenya's first large-scale solar energy storage battery for the 40MW solar power plant it plans to construct in Siaya, to be connected to the national power grid.

The firm is expected to get technical support from North Carolina-based battery storage manufacturer, Alevo USA.

"Energy storage will boost take-up of solar power on a mass scale due to the elements of reliability and efficiency," Power Africa country manager, Joanna Hecht, said during the signing ceremony in Nairobi.

Maximising green energy

Developers of the Siaya solar park are reported to have said they are in the market to procure equipment with construction of the 40MW plant set for next year, anticipated to take six months to complete.

The back-up batteries are meant to ensure reliable supply of electricity to the grid even in the absence of sunlight.

Media highlighted that this development places Kenya among nations currently exploring various technologies for solar power storage on a mass scale, beyond smaller solar-powered batteries for cars and households.

On the other hand, KenGen is set to use the grant in deploying equipment in Olkaria power plants on a pilot basis to tap more electricity from geothermal wells. Read more...

KenGen managing director Albert Mugo said: "The equipment will enable us tap the total flow of geothermal energy since it uses both steam and the liquid from wells.”

Power Africa roadmap

In 2016, Power Africa released a road map, which stated that solar schemes are forecast to provide 18,000 to 22,000MW of extra power in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.

The road map noted that 11,000 to 14,000MW of energy generation is expected to come from new projects involving solar, geothermal, wind, hydroelectric and natural gas, as well as a few thousand more megawatts from making existing power supplies more efficient.

Featured image: 123rf

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