Renewable Energy in Kenya: Unlocking Investments, Innovation and Research. Italian lessons learned and cutting-edge solutions
The Embassy of Italy in Kenya, in partnership with RES4Africa Foundation and Politecnico di Milano, held a two-day event at Strathmore University, entitled “Renewable Energy in Kenya: Unlocking Investments, Innovation and Research”. The event brought together over 250 representatives of the private sector, government, international organizations, Kenyan public institutions, Italian companies, universities and research institutes to discuss the lessons learned and cutting-edge innovation in the renewable energy sector in Kenya.
Renewable energy and climate change
Renewable energies have taken on an increasingly important role in the global fight against climate change. In Africa, in particular, they have taken the center stage in the political discourse, as the aim to provide clean and affordable energy for all by 2022 requires a significant paradigm shift. The pace of change in Africa’s energy sector has accelerated and East Africa is experiencing a particularly fast GDP growth. Kenya is blessed with abundant resources in the form of solar, wind and geothermal energy: exploiting theses efficiently will be key to unleashing economic growth.
The first day was dedicated to a high-level discussion between the public and private sector aiming at unlocking investments, innovation and research in the renewable energy sector in Kenya. The discussions were opened by Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation, Prof. Izael Da Silva, Italian Ambassador in Kenya, Alberto Pieri and Hon. Charles Keter, State Minister of Energy. The private and banking sectors were represented by the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Enel Green Power, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Intesa Sanpaolo. Other local stakeholders included representatives of the Ministry of Energy, as well as national energy companies such as Kenya Power, KenGen and Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Agency (EPRA).
“Renewable energies are a cornerstone in the strategy against climate change at the same time representing a key component in fostering sustainable development. In this crucial sector Italy and Kenya can establish a win-win partnership,” the Ambassador of Italy in Kenya, Alberto Pieri, speaking at the opening session.
Renewable energy, innovation and research
The second day of the event focused on innovation and research in the field of renewables with the participation of experts from Italian universities and public research institutes such as ENEA. Italy, in its mandate as co-chair of the COP26 (together with United Kingdom), focused on the theme of renewable energy, youth and the African continent. The sessions were dedicated to innovation and research in the field of renewable energy with the aim of enhancing cooperation in education with local players and sharing multi-stakeholder best practices on innovation.
The first session of the day was dedicated to the research perspective developed by Italian universities and research centers as opportunity for mutual learning with African colleagues and scientists, whereas the second session focused on innovation perspective as a new narrative for effective cooperation. Emphasis was given to joint projects developed in cooperation with local players to highlight lessons learnt and to gather additional future synergies.
Renewable Energy Solutions for Africa (RES4Africa) Foundation promotes the deployment of large scale and decentralized renewable energy in African markets to meet local energy needs for growth. RES4Africa gathers a member network from across the clean energy value chain and supports the creation of an enabling environment for renewable energy investments and strategic partnerships.