[13th February 2013]

RENEWABLE ENERGY FORUM 2013

Mr. Ali Mohamed, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources (4th left) poses for a group with leaders of Japanese delegation in Nairobi on 29th January, 2013.

As part of its involvement in development cooperation with Kenya, Japan has been at the forefront on energy exploration and generation in the country. Among its recent activities in Kenya was the energy conference themed "The Renewable Energy Forum 2013" held in Nairobi on 29th January, 2013. The Forum, whose objective was to promote and introduce Japan's new technologies on renewable energy to the public and private sectors in Kenya, was organized by the governments of Kenya and Japan. This followed the successful visit to Japan by a team of Kenyan Engineers to study on hybrid mini-grid and renewable energy in November, 2012.

In his key note speech, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Mr. Ali Mohamed informed that Kenya was a strong proponent of renewable energy technologies that contributed to the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development. While thanking the representatives of Japan's public and private sector for sharing knowledge about Japanese technologies and products, he underscored the significance of technological innovation saying that it was vital for Kenya to transition to a low carbon climate resilience economy.

Mr. Ali noted that scaling up green investments in key sectors such as energy, agriculture and transport would catalyze significant advancement in sustainable development and poverty eradication. He however noted that there were challenges that remain to be overcome if Kenya was to benefit from the many opportunities that were offered by renewable energy technologies, adding that capacity building, increased access to finance, creation of new markets and technology innovation would be required to fully harness the country's potential. While pointing out that Kenya was susceptible to climate change effects and recognizing the need to reduce global emissions through reducing reliance on fossil fuels, Mr. Ali called on everyone to support the switch to alternative energy sources, especially renewable and modern energy technologies that could increase the livelihood of the poor through increasing energy access.

The Forum was also attended by Mr. Yasunori Nakayama, Deputy Director-General for International Trade Policy in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan. Mr. Nakayama urged the Kenyan counterparts to make use of the many opportunities that came with renewable energy, saying that in Japan the private sector had invested a lot in renewable energy and the returns were massive.

On his part, Eng.Richard Muiru, representing the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Mr. Patrick Nyoike, said that the Kenyan Government was investing a lot in renewable energy as seen in the expansion of geothermal power plants in Olkaria and Wind power projects in Turkana, which were vital in achieving Vision 2030 goal of universal energy of which the country needs 10,000 megawatts.

The meeting, which was taking place months before the Tokyo international conference on African Development (TICAD V) to be held in Japan in June 2013, was important since renewable energy contributed to TICAD's objectives of addressing environmental issues and climate change. Kenya has taken deliberate moves to promote low carbon and resilient development through a comprehensive climate change action plan, expected to be launched in February, 2013. The action plan presents a set of realistic and implementable actions that would enable Kenya to integrate climate change into national, social, economic and governance systems.

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