, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – The government on Wednesday unveiled a raft of measures aimed at addressing shortage of electricity in the country and to forestall possible rationing of the commodity.
Speaking after chairing the inaugural meeting of the National Task Force on Accelerated Development of Green Energy, Prime Minister Raila Odinga announced that as an immediate measure, one million energy saving bulbs will be distributed free of charge in exchange for regular bulbs that are being used by households.
“As a measures to improve the efficiency of energy consumption and thus save the use of energy there will be a free distribution of 1 million energy saving bulbs in exchange for regular bulbs that are being used by households. The free distribution of energy saving bulbs is expected to save 49 MW of power,” Mr Odinga said.
“The cost of the bulbs is Sh161 million while the cost of implementation is Sh50 million.”
During the meeting the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) gave an assurance that adequate supply of power will be maintained despite the closing down of Masinga Dam due to low water levels occasioned by long spell of drought.
Mr Odinga further announced that the sale of solar water heaters for public institutions, firms and households would be subsidized saying that the measures will also improve the efficiency of energy consumption.
The PM pointed out that interest-free, long-term loans will be offered for investment in local production of energy saving bulbs, solar water heaters and other energy saving devices whose production locally will commence within one year.
The meeting was attended by Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta (Finance), Henry Kosgey (Industrialization) and Energy’s Kiraitu Murungi.
Mr Odinga said the task force would facilitate the installation of additional 2000 MW of power within the next three years involving green energy projects that have already been identified.
“They include six geothermal projects with a capacity of 490MW; seven wind power projects with expected capacity of 810 MW; a number of power cogeneration projects with expected capacity of 600 MW. Additional power could be generated from solar, biogas and solid waste as well as combined heat and power technologies,” he added.
He said this will offer opportunities to entrepreneurs.
Mr Odinga stated that a Green Energy facility will be established to offer interest free, long term loans to farmers and businesses to install solar, biogas and other green energy equipments.
“This facility will be managed by a consortium of Commercial Banks, with support provided by the Government. Discussions to make the facility operational by middle of August will be initiated immediately,” he said.
The PM said a strategy for financing geothermal, wind and other large projects will necessitate setting up the Kenya Green Energy Fund to pool World Bank and other donors to help finance government equity participation and loan contributions to these projects.
“In addition, an infrastructure fund will be established to mobilise funds of institutional private investors,” he added.
He said an International Green Energy Investor Conference will be held in Nairobi in September during which resources will be secured for funding Public Private Partnerships for identified green energy projects.
He added that a Public Private Partnership Bill would be prepared to accelerate the procurement of new Power Projects.