RES4Africa: New Strategies and Tools for the Development of Renewables in Kenya
More than 350 participants came together in Nairobi to discuss potential barriers as well as huge opportunities for the sustainable development of the African continent
Kenya, one of the most prosperous markets for renewables in Africa, hosted the second edition of RES4Africa, an association supported by Enel Green Power that brings together businesses, technology providers, the academic world and consulting companies engaged in energy cooperation and in promoting the development of renewables in Africa.
Still today, a huge portion of the African population does not have access to energy: about 600 million people.
“The reduced cost of new technologies and closer attention from governments to defining proper policies to promote the use of renewables and attract new investors: these are the two factors that most contribute to the spread of solutions to produce energy and guarantee universal access to electricity.”
The importance of renewables was emphasised by the General Secretary of RES4Africa, Roberto Vigotti. In his speech, he recalled how, in the 1980s, renewable sources were considered a sort of “Cinderella” compared to other sources of energy generation:
“Now, in addition to the need to face the challenges raised by the negative impacts of climate change, renewables have also become more economically convenient than hydrocarbons and other fossil fuels.” – Roberto Vigotti – General Secretary of RES4Africa
In recent years, Kenya especially has seemed to want to accelerate its transition to green sources, especially with off-grid and mini-grid systems, which may be essential to ensure energy access in rural areas. But what is missing to go beyond the frontier of renewables is not so much international funds, which exist and are available, but financially sustainable projects together with clear regulatory instruments.
“As the implementation of a proper renewable strategy has been under discussion for quite some time now, we hope Kenya can quickly move along the pathway of support to viable renewable projects that has already been traced by other Sub-Saharan African countries” – Valentino Rossi – Head of Business Development for EGP
At the conclusion of the two days in Nairobi, RES4Africa presented actions undertaken in the last year, including the launch of the “Micro-Grid Academy” and the results of an integration study of the network of non-programmable renewable sources into Kenya’s national electric system; two concrete initiatives to speed up the integration of renewable energy in the country.
Alongside the conference, an exhibit entitled “Renewable Energy in East Africa: New Frontiers” was set up, allowing national and international companies to present their activities and products. Some B2B sessions have also been planned to evaluate business opportunities in the emerging markets of East Africa.