Kenya’s energy sector players will see a great boost amid Global Alliance Africa and Energy Catalyst funding partnership

Posted on: 14/07/2022

Given the impact of renewable energy, Kenya has seen an improvement in its energy access. According to the Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KEREA), the country has close to 80% of electricity connectivity, of which about 25-30% is solar systems. This insight was shared during the Energy Catalyst’s launch and brokerage event that took place in Kenya on 28 June.

Hosted by the Global Alliance Africa project on behalf of Innovate UK KTN, the event, held in collaboration with KEREA, was open to businesses, research technology organisations, academic organisations, charities, public sector organisations, and non-governmental organisations in Africa, the UK, and internationally. Energy Catalyst is an Innovate UK programme with funding provided through the UK’s Ayrton Fund, part of the UK’s International Climate Finance commitment, which includes investment from the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), as part of the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) Platform, and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The programme accelerates the innovation needed to develop sustainable energy solutions, through financial and advisory support, and by building strategic partnerships and uncovering new insights, such as introducing Kenya’s local energy ecosystem to opportunities within the UK.

The knowledge-sharing event, which was joint virtually and physically, saw a room full of key players within the energy sector engaging to create a platform for energy innovators to connect, create relationships and collaborate with various key industry players. Industry stakeholders who were in attendance included key players in Kenya’s energy sector such as Azuri Technologies, Vuma Biofuels, Flexi Biogas, Deevabits Green Energy, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, and KEREA, which has been working in four main areas that drive companies, individuals and organisations to join the areas of advocacy, access to finance, market and technologies.

Keynote speaker, Andrew Amadi, CEO of KEREA says:

We are involved in advocating for an enabling environment that allows the technologies to be available and to be accessible, and that the cost is less prohibitive.

In 2021, KEREA connected 20 partners involved in renewable energy, and developed and implemented a strategy to have the VAT exemption reinstated on renewable energy technologies. This was done in the Finance Act 2021, where wind, biogas, and biomass (both technology and equipment) were exempted from VAT. Amadi adds:

We still have operational challenges such as solar water heating, and we have taken that to court, and we shall wait for the High Court to resolve this matter, sometime in July. We have seen that the growth of renewable energy is going to be driven more by productive use than domestic consumption.

Energy stakeholders at the event also heard from OakTech, an energy technology development company that provides value at all stages of the staged transitions away from fossil fuels to zero-emission hydrogen-powered engines. The company is one of the solutions that received funding from the Energy Catalyst programme, alongside Strathmore University, in Nairobi, which was a beneficiary of Energy Catalyst 7.

OakTech has taken three Energy Catalyst projects, which were focused on power generation in developing economies and aimed to displace diesel. The total value of the projects was €1.7m. Energy Catalyst’s financial, strategic and business support, in partnership with Strathmore University Research Centre in Nairobi, allowed Steamology to evaluate the potential for local manufacture and commercialisation of their system in Kenya, which was proven viable for standardised components of their system. Steamology eliminates emissions and thereby helps foster the transition away from fossil fuels. The company operates at off-grid locations in sub-Saharan Africa where steam and electricity are created through renewable generation and hydrogen storage.

“The evident improvement of the lives of Kenyans is a clear indication of the impact that renewable energy has. Given the ever-changing societal, environmental and economic challenges, which are felt regionally, nationally and also globally, we are proud to take part in initiatives that connect ideas, people and communities to respond to these challenges and drive positive change through innovation, thus improving the lives of ordinary people” Global Alliance Africa’s Country Lead for Kenya, Sheilah Birgen, concludes.

About the Energy Catalyst

Energy Catalyst is an Innovate UK programme with funding provided through the UK’s Ayrton Fund, part of the UK’s International Climate Finance commitment, which includes investment from the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), as part of the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) Platform, and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Since it started in 2014, it has invested more than £60 million in over 360 projects. Energy Catalyst works with a range of partner organisations to build collaborations between organisations applying to Energy Catalyst and guide organisations looking to understand energy access issues and potential markets. This includes a virtual marketplace, webinars that explore project opportunities and facilitating introductions between organisations from the United Kingdom and organisations based in sub-Saharan Africa.

For more information about the programme, please visit https://energycatalyst.ukri.org/ .

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