Kenya is among countries that made the most investment in renewable energy globally last year.
This is according to a new report by Germany’s Frankfurt School, a United Nations Environment Programme.
Unep’s centre for climate and sustainable energy finance, lists Kenya and South Africa, as the only nations on the continent that committed over a billion dollars (about Sh97 billion) to renewable energy projects during the period.
The global trends in renewable energy investment 2015 report also names Indonesia, Chile, Mexico and Turkey has having made significant contributions to investments in renewable energy in 2014. The leading locations for renewable energy projects during the year were China, US, Japan, India and Brazil, said the report.
In total, investments in renewable energy projects in developing countries stood at $131.3 billion last year, up 36 per cent compared to the previous year.
This comes closely to the total for developed economies, which was $138.9 billion having increased by just three per cent.
“The trend last year was, arguably, even more impressive than it would seem from the investment numbers because a record number capacity of wind and solar photovoltaic power was installed.
A key feature of 2014 was the continuing spread of renewable energy to new markets,” notes the report.
The global investment in renewable power, excluding large hydro-electric projects, was higher by 17 per cent at $270.2 billion during the period under review, mainly driven by increased solar installations in China and Japan and wind projects in Europe.
The report also shows that equity raising by renewable energy projects on capital markets around the world increased by 54 per cent to $15.1 billion in 2014.
Overall, renewable energy projects were estimated to have contributed 9.1 per cent of the world electricity generation last year compared to 8.5 per cent in 2013.
Last year, Kenya connected 280 megawatts of geothermal electricity to the national grid, propelling this form of power production to the top position in the country’s generation mix.
The geothermal power came from plants operated by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company at Olkaria in Naivasha.
KenGen also upgraded the capacity of its Ngong-based wind farm from 5.1 megawatts to 25 megawatts with funding from the governments of Belgium and Spain.
Under the plan to install an additional 5,000 megawatts of electricity by the end of next year, the government is targeting to increase power production from renewable sources such as wind and geothermal as well as other cheap sources of electricity such as coal to drive the cost of electricity down.
In January, the ministry of Energy and Petroleum embarked on an audit to establish the level of compliance with the requirements for renewable projects among investors, who have received approval from the Energy Regulatory Commission to set up power plants.
The results of the exercise are yet to be made public.
The audit is also meant to weed out firms that have held licences for power generation merely for speculative purposes.
It was undertaken following a circular issued by the cabinet secretary for Energy Davis Chirchir last July, directing all investors, who had been cleared to generate electricity from solar, wind, cogeneration and biomass to file status reports on their projects by the end of last year.