This edition of the Perspective brings with it a wealth of facts on renewable energy, green economies, climate change and reflects on the challenges different African nations and entities are faced with, in their quest for a self-sufficient and sustainable green society. It is a rich compilation of expert commentaries and contributions coming from different parts of Africa, telling African stories.
While most African nations aspire to lead the way in developing a greener future, local technical capacity to develop, procure, construct and operate renewable-energy projects remains a challenge. As a matter of fact, renewable energy will only be able to provide for base loads and for the growing energy demands of the country with the right planning and continued political will.
For emphasis, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung interviewed a Kenyan contributor, Bernard Osawa, a specialist in renewable energy investment and planning in the region, asking who is shaping the renewable energy agenda in Kenya.
HBS: What motivated the development of the renewable energy sector in Kenya?
Osawa: Kenya envisions transforming itself into a newly industrializing, middle-income country by 2030, with a globally competitive and prosperous economy and high quality of life in a clean and secure environment.
Energy is one of the foundations and enablers of the socio-economic transformation necessary to achieve Vision 2030. Renewable energy solutions are well positioned to address many of the challenges the energy sector is currently facing, including a rapidly growing demand for electricity, high dependence on increasingly unreliable hydroelectric power, high cost of supply, and a low access rate – all of it compounded by the additional risk of climate change.
There is an abundance of renewable energy resources – including geothermal, hydro, wind, solar and biomass – to meet the demand for both centralised and distributed energy services.
Low electrification levels make off-grid renewable energy developments – mainly in solar and wind – the perfect solution.
Also commenting from Kenya was Anne Wanjiku Maina, an activist who dedicates her work towards challenging false solutions being pushed in Africa. She wondered whether pricing carbon that is stored in soils and forests will help to protect Kenya's five major forested mountain areas also known as "water towers".
The Perspective is not about a Kenyan but an African story, so please download your free copy for more expert commentaries and contributions from around the continent, including full versions of the interviews above