, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 27 – The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and General Electric on Thursday awarded three renewable energy companies grants amounting to Sh8.5 million each.
According to President of the Fund Shari Berenbach the companies are mandated to create alternative power sources to communities that are not served by the traditional grid.
“Our focus is on rural communities because we recognise that it is going to take many years to get power to them yet the answer as to how this is achievable lies in entrepreneurs in those same communities.”
“This partnership is to identify who is developing new innovative models to meet the energy access needs to marginalized communities.”
“So we have awarded money to three Kenyan companies, Solar World Limited, Afrisol Energy and Mibawa Suppliers.”
“Solar World will construct five solar powered water points to provide water and electricity to pastoralists in Northern Kenya, Afrisol Energy will utilise bio-digesters to produce electricity and biogas for schools and small businesses in Nairobi urban slums and finally Mibawa Suppliers that will introduce pay as you go lighting and chargers for households in rural parts of Western Kenya,” Berenbach explained.
US Agency for International Development (USAID) Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz added that the venture will assist the government provide an additional power to the country.
“We are supporting very closely President Uhuru Kenyatta’s efforts to add 5000 megawatts to the Kenyan grid over the next 40 months.”
“We want to make sure that communities are taking advantage of the resources that they have. Controlling ones energy destiny is not up to the government solely but also on the people living in those communities.”
“Kenya has 15,000 megawatts of clean geothermal energy in the Rift Valley and the winds that are blowing through the Turkana plains and we need to figure out how Kenya can make use of these resources,” said Herscowitz.
The project is also expected to run in Nigeria where another three companies have been awarded money to provide renewable energy solutions to low income earners.
“The judges carefully evaluated more than 50 applications to arrive at the eventual winners. They particularly looked out for proposals that demonstrated new business models to deliver sustainable renewable energy to understand the marginalized populations,” Berenbach disclosed.
Last August during a trip to the United Arab Emirates, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the signing of an agreement that would see the financing for geothermal power generation to the tune of $1 billion.
The initiative is expected to assist the government raise power generation capacity to more than 5,000 megawatts from the current 1,600 megawatts.