USTDA Launches its Largest Single Investment in Kenya’s Energy Sector

Today, during the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency launched its largest single investment in Kenya’s power sector to date  at a ceremony witnessed by the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya, the Honorable William Ruto, and Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz, USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak. Zak announced support for six projects that will identify U.S. solutions that can help increase access to affordable, reliable electricity across Kenya and help diversify the country’s energy mix.

During the ceremony, USTDA and its Kenyan partners agreed to support the following projects:

  • Lamu Gas-to-Power Project: USTDA Director Zak and Mr. Austen Titford, COO, Zarara Oil & Gas Limited, concluded a grant agreement to evaluate the technical, economic and environmental aspects of the proposed Lamu gas-to-power energy project on Pate Island. The project will add 50-200 MW of new electricity generation capacity to the island, located off Kenya’s mainland in the Indian Ocean.
  • Gitaru Solar PV Plant: USTDA Director Zak and Mr. Albert Mugo, Managing Director and CEO, Kenya Electricity Generating Company Limited (KenGen), signed a grant agreement to support the development of a 10-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) project. The project, which is co-located with an existing KenGen-owned hydro plant, will be KenGen’s first utility scale solar asset.
  • Nyakwere Hills Solar PV Plant: USTDA will partner with Quaint Energy Kenya Ltd. to develop a 40 MW solar PV power plant in eastern Kenya. Successful project implementation would reduce or avoid tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year as an alternative to fossil fuel power sources. USTDA Director Zak and Mr. Alfred Achar, Managing Director, Quaint Energy Kenya, signed the grant agreement.
  • Solar Microgrid Solutions for Island & Village Electrification: USTDA and Renewable World East Africa, an energy access non-profit organization, will develop minigrid solar and battery storage systems at eight locations across Kenya with a combined 1.5 MW of new power generation capacity. Successful implementation of the project would help to electrify an estimated 4,500 households and businesses. The feasibility study will be conducted by U.S. company Renewvia Energy Corporation (Atlanta, GA), which is sharing its costs. Renewvia CEO Trey Jarrard signed the cost share agreement along with USTDA Director Zak.
  • Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant: USTDA will partner with Akiira Geothermal Limited to assess the viability of a 70 MW geothermal power plant northwest of Nairobi. Successful implementation of the project would provide clean, baseload renewable power and support Kenya’s participation in the regional power pool. USTDA Director Zak and Mr. Paul Stroud, a Board Member of Akiira Geothermal Limited, signed the grant agreement.
  • Isiolo Solar PV Power Plant: USTDA will partner with Green Millennia Energy Ltd. to develop a 40 MW solar PV power plant in the city of Isiolo in central Kenya. U.S. solar developer and PV manufacturer SunPower (San Jose, CA) will conduct the feasibility study and serve as the EPC contractor for the project. Ms. Lida Fitts, USTDA’s Regional Director for sub-Saharan Africa, signed the cost share agreement along with Mr. Nam Nguyen, SVP of Americas Power Plants, SunPower Corporation.

“This Forum demonstrated the strength and diversity of the U.S.-Africa economic partnership,” said Director Zak. “USTDA is pleased to play a leading role in identifying U.S. solutions that can support Kenya’s energy goals and strengthen commercial ties in order to spur long-term, sustainable economic growth.”

Together, these projects make Kenya the largest country in USTDA’s portfolio in sub-Saharan Africa – one year after the Agency relaunched its program during President Obama’s visit to the country. They also support the goals of Power Africa, a U.S. government-led initiative to increase electricity access across the continent.

Leave a Reply