October 11 (SeeNews) - British companies are looking into solar, wind and biomass projects in Kenya that could bring an overall investment of over GBP 500 million (USD 618m/ EUR 555m) to the African country, Clive Hollick, UK trade envoy to Kenya & Tanzania, said, speaking at an event in Nairobi.
In May this year, the UK and Kenya signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), where the UK committed to support the development of strategic renewable energy projects in Kenya with funding to the tune of KES 70 billion (USD 690.7m / EUR 622m).
This month, the British High Commission and Barclays Bank of Kenya, sponsored an event in Nairobi that took place last Friday bringing together more than 100 companies from the local renewable energy sector with investors from the United Kingdom.
Speaking at the event, Clive Hollick, said the UK's Export Finance has already committed about KES 28.33 billion to projects in solar, wind and biomass power. More financing is expected to come from Barclays as the bank has so far been a key financier to the local renewable energy sector.
"Our expertise in investment financing and knowledge of the energy sector and its technologies position us to take advantage of falling renewable energy costs by partnering with the right investors to help Kenya achieve the government’s 5,000 MW plan by 2017," said Barclay’s Bank of Kenya CEO Jeremy Awori.
“Locally, we have invested KES 13.4 billion to increase the capacity of Thika Power plant by 60 MW as well as some KES 26 million in the Light Up Kenya initiative,” Awori added.
Among the attendees of the event in Nairobi were British companies Nova Energy, Green Globe Architecture Ltd, Tullow Oil, Eaton, KC Global Procurement LLP, OST Energy, Questworks, Solar World E.A. Ltd, Total Kenya, Virunga Power and Wind Prospect.
Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge said Tropical Power, a company based in Oxford, UK, with subsidiaries in Ghana and Kenya, has already approached him with a proposal to exploit hyacinth in Lake Victoria to generate energy from biomass.
Njoroge noted that investments in the energy sector of Kenya are driven by high demand for electricity and will go beyond the government's target for 5,000 MW.
He said the Ministry of Industrialisation is leading the government’s effort to set up industrial parks with Dongo Kundu in Mombasa, Taita Taveta, Voi, Mtito Andei, Nairobi, Naivasha and Nakuru already having been earmarked for the first phase. These strategic locations will create competitive prices and attract more foreign direct investment, Njoroge concluded.