The Government of Kenya has signed a 33 million euro (KES 37 billion) financing deal with the French Development Agency (AFD) to support the installation of renewable energy generation units.
The financing will go towards installing solar panels and wind turbines in 23 mini-grids operated by Kenya Power, which are currently powered by diesel generators.
The project is expected to add 9.6 megawatts of solar photovoltaic and 0.6 megawatts of wind power to the national electricity supply. This added generation capacity will improve energy production and reliability of supply in Kenya, which is in turn expected to support economic development.
The switch to renewable energy sources will reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the current diesel-powered system.
Referring to the CoP21 climate negotiations hosted in Paris last year, Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, highlighted the need to finance projects aimed towards fighting against climate change.
"The signing of this financing agreement shows that significant resources are indeed made available to support climate friendly projects", Mr. Ayrault said at the signing of the agreement. "France is committed to provide such financial resources, and will increase its commitment to the fight against climate change in developing countries by 2 billion euros a year."
Mr. Ayrault also highlighted that this financing was aligned with the Joint Declaration on Sustainable Energy signed by Kenya at the CoP21 in Paris, to which France, the EU, Italy, the Netherlands and the US are parties.
This new project contributes to the long-term partnership developed between the Kenyan authorities and AFD in the energy sector.
Since 2000, AFD has committed over 800 million euro (KES 91 billion) in loans to the Kenyan power sector, spread across the entire industry value chain - financing drilling operations for the development of geothermal energy, building renewable energy plants, improving the national grid, rural electrification, and supporting further investment in the sector by SMEs.
AFD and Kenya Power are also about to partner on a 120 million euro (KES 13.5 billion) project, with additional grant financing of about 30 million euro from the European Union, to Last Mile Connectivity programs, which aim to fast-track electrification at national scale.