Kenya Beats Qatar and Saudi Arabia in Green Energy Transition

Kenya Power staff at work
Kenya Power staff attending to a transformer during a past maintenance exercise in Nairobi County.
Kenya Power

Kenya has made a huge transition to renewable energy, beating countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia as it came 46 worldwide, according to a survey released by the World Energy Council.

On a global index, developing countries were said to have changed their approach to energy transition, challenging several first-world countries, thus accelerating towards a net-zero future faster than others.

“Kenya has put an aggressive effort towards transition readiness by improving its regulatory frameworks, innovation, and infrastructure while addressing social inequality and affordability,” the report says.

"Countries that show strong transition momentum around equity, for example, include Kenya, ranked 46 overall, and Tunisia, ranked 89," it added. 

Kenya Power staff working on electricity lines at Soysambu Conservancy on February 22, 2021
Kenya Power staff working on electricity lines at Soysambu Conservancy on February 22, 2021

Countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar are still working on reducing their dependency on oil products as they seek to increase their non-oil exports, an area Kenya has well-denominated, as per the reports.

“Development has been uneven, and countries much lower in the overall ranking can still be leading in other ways,” says the report.

In Africa, Morocco, Namibia and Mauritius capped the top 56, 58 and 60, respectively. Cote d'Ivoire, Egypt, Cameroon, South Africa, Algeria, Ghana and Tunisia followed at 75, 79, 81, 82, 86, 88 and 89, respectively. 

However, Ghana (88) beat Kenya’s efforts in energy connectivity in Africa as it boasts 85 per cent electricity connection to Ghanaians compared to Kenyans' 75 per cent connectivity by 2018, as per International Energy Council data.

Half of Ghana’s energy is sourced from hydropower, while Kenya uses geothermal energy. 

Kenya has made a strong transition around equity as it strives to connect each and every individual with clean energy with its focus on implementing energy plans at county levels rather than national levels, further fostering energy equity.

The country's Last Mile Connectivity Programme - a government's flagship project introduced in 2015 - boosted energy connectivity in rural and semi-urban areas

This was aimed at accelerating electricity connectivity to drive social and economic growth in the country.

However, the project has faced several challenges, from vandalism of products to delays of tenders, with the last Audit Report forcing the National Assembly to summon Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir to address the issues. 

Globally, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway bagged the top three positions, respectively, while the US and the UK were at 12 and 13, respectively.

"Sweden, Denmark and Norway have been the top three countries in the ETI rankings during this time, benefitting from diverse energy system structures, stable regulatory frameworks, high investment in research and development, and carbon pricing schemes that incentivize greener solutions," the report says. 

A photo of the Kenyan Senate.
A photo of the Kenyan Senate.
Parliament of Kenya