Access to Clean Energy Services in Kenya

What the project is about

clean energy


According to a Ministry of Energy report (Kamfor 2002) the main sources of firewood are rangelands (25%), government forests (28%) and small farmlands (47%).  The role of agro-forestry on small farms in providing firewood has progressively increased while showing a decline in the other categories.  This on the other hand reduced the land set aside for farming.  About 92% of all households that use charcoal purchase it from the market, while 7% produce their own. Most of the charcoal consumed in Kenya comes from rangelands. These include rangelands targeted for re-settlement particularly in the Rift Valley province. The degradation and deforestation of rangelands, particularly around urban areas such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kisumu has been attributed to charcoal production. (Ministry of Energy Kamfor Report September, 2002)

Of Kenya’s 6.86 million households, 78% of the rural households are still using traditional stone fires while in urban areas slightly above 9% use these highly polluting and environmentally damaging biomass use. Access to other modern energy services for cooking and heating is better in urban areas than rural areas where poverty is more acute. The lack of access is exemplified by the millennium districts where Suba district recorded no gas cooker or electric cooker and 75.5% of the population use traditional fires. Siaya district registering equivalent to almost national average on access to modern energy services but 86.2 % using traditional fires. Bondo with 78.6%, Meru South 75.7 %, Muranga 82.3% , Isiolo 68.8% , Kilifi in the Coast 73.9%,  Bungoma 87.9% and Turkana registering 85.9% using traditional three stone fires.  Penetration of improved biomass cooking technologies is frustrating. Apart from Meru South with 14.4% of the population using improved firewood cook stoves, the rest of the millennium districts register less than 8% (KIBHS 2005-2006; rev 2007)

 Equitable access to energy services is an essential element of sustainable growth. In particular access to modern energy services is crucial to achieving MDGs; however, only 16% of Kenyans have access to grid electricity. Access to other modern energy services for cooking and heating is better in urban areas than rural areas where poverty is more acute.

This five year programme is intended to assist Kenya in its development through the development and use of modern energy technologies by ensuring support and funding, research, design and development, social/logistical aspects, economic feasibility assessment, financial accessibility, policy and regulatory frameworks.  The programme and its projects will identify, assess and remove some of the barriers that inhibit wider adoption and use of clean energy services. This programme will support energy activities aimed at reducing overall poverty and achieving sustainable development objectives at local and national levels. It will promote clean energy technologies as a way of adapting to and also mitigating the negative effects of climate change at local levels.

 The proposed energy agenda will focus on the following key result areas:

  1. Developing local capacity to expand energy service delivery.
  2. Promote productive use of energy to increase income levels as well as employment opportunities.
  3. Promotion of adaptation to climate change and developing mitigation mechanisms using energy technologies.
  4. Mobilizing private and public funds including carbon financing for clean energy in Kenya through various approaches including feed in tariffs and carbon markets. 
  5. Catalyzing environmental finance in addressing environmental degradation..
  6. Supporting policies and programmes on technology development and transfer in the area of renewable energy, especially building on international discussions on technology transfer and climate change, low carbon, high growth, development options.




Access to affordable and quality energy services is central to sustainable development and poverty reduction efforts. Energy affects all aspects of human and national development i.e. social, economic, and environmental aspects of development including improving livelihoods, access to clean water, increased land and agricultural productivity, better health, population growth, quality of education, and improving gender-related issues.  Although there is no specific MDG on access to energy, all MDGs will be enhanced with increased access to equitable and sustainable energy services. None of the Millennium Development Goals can be met without major improvement in the quality and quantity of energy and energy services. Furthermore, access to adequate and affordable energy services is a critical factor of poverty eradication through, inter alia, diversifying opportunities for human development, expanding options and choices for livelihood activities, job creation and wealth generation. It contributes to promoting gender equity; improving access to modern and more versatile forms of households energy for cooking and heating and reducing drudgery particularly on the girl child and women. Furthermore, access to electricity will complement free primary education since pupils will be able to extend curricula hours in a day. National health and well being will improve if all dispensaries and health centres have access to electricity for preservation of medicine and extension of medical services to night time especially in rural areas. Food can also be preserved for a longer time. On the other hand energy for productive end uses is critical in increasing overall productivity. Clean sustainable energy services will also contribute to a better environment with less deforestation and reduced indoor air pollution associated with the use of unclean energy forms.

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