Two exhibitors, from Strathmore University's Energy Research Centre, at the Renewable Energy Day fayre show off a functioning solar cell setup; on the day, exhibitors displayed innovations such as biogas tanks, photovoltaic arrays, clean-cooking stoves and solar-powered televisions (Photo: Nicholas Wilson/UNDP Kenya)

On 28 January 2020, the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) hosted the inaugural Renewable Energy Day event, a celebration of all things green-energy which featured an exhibition of home-grown renewable energy innovations, speeches from key players in the renewables space, and panel discussions bringing together players from the Government of Kenya, UN, civil society, academia and the private sector. The event – the theme of which was ‘Powering the Future’ – was organized by the Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KEREA) with support from UNDP through the Low Emission and Climate Resilient Development (LECRD) project.

Over 300 participants engaged in the discussions and exhibitions, which included: clean-cooking solutions; solar-powered water heaters, bikes, lights and televisions; biogas tanks; and domestic wind power solutions. Kenya is leading the East African region in the deployment of renewable energy technologies in power generation: according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Economic Survey 2019, over 86% of Kenya’s electricity energy is drawn exclusively from renewable energy sources (hydro, geothermal and wind energy). This puts the country firmly on course to achieving access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy as enshrined in SDG7.

In addressing delegates at the inaugural Renewable Energy Day event, Dr. Kevit Desai, Principal Secretary in the State Department of Vocational and Technical Education of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, emphasized the importance of renewable energy as an enabler of a sustainable economy. He also recognized the role of private sector in deploying the technologies required to drive a renewable energy shift; one of the challenges he noted was a lack of renewables-specific technical skills in Kenya required to grow the sector, a matter which is now a focus of some technical vocational training institutions in an effort to meet the rising demand.

Evelyn Koech, Team Leader of the Environment and Resilience Unit, UNDP Kenya, noted the strength of partnership between the Government, UN and private sector in collaborating to produce innovative policy frameworks and practical solutions around renewable energy, which have given rise to healthy growth in the sector. Ms. Koech also highlighted the opportunity Kenya has – as a leader in the renewables space – to showcase lessons learned and best practices around decarbonizing energy supply, which can serve to help other countries to tackle the climate change challenge.

In Kenya, through the USAID-supported LECRD project, UNDP is undertaking diverse interventions to promote renewable energy in Kenya through a sustainable development lens, among them support to the NDC drafting process. The project has also supported the preparation of a number of Minimum Energy Performance Standards, establishment of a full-fledged energy efficiency laboratory at the Kenya Industrial Research Development Institute (KIRDI) and supported curriculum development and training of solar photovoltaic and solar water heating equipment technicians in ten local training and vocational institutes.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/undpkenya/albums/72157712898875957

Read more on UNDP’s work to promote clean energy in Kenya through LECRD here.

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