About 1.1 million people are set to benefit from the Sh4.7bn Kenya-Off-Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAp) project launched Tuesday by the Ministry of Energy and funded by the WorldBank.
The Project is aimed at spurring the private sector to provide viable solar and clean cooking solutions million the 14 marginalized counties of West Pokot, Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir, Garrisa, Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta and Narok.
Speaking during the launch of the project at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Ministry of Energy PS, Dr Eng. Joseph Njoroge said the project will ensure that people living in marginalized areas also enjoy access to electricity which stands at 75 per cent in grid and off-grid options.
“The country has made great strides in achieving connectivity with access to electricity standing at 75% through both grid and off-grid options," Dr Njoroge said. "However, access to electricity is low in the 14 marginalized counties, which represent 72% of the country’s total land area and 20% of the population. The dispersed settlements in the marginalized counties make off-grid solutions the only viable alternative for access to electricity,” he added.
The Results-Based Financing (RBF) and Debt Facilities under the KOSAP are financed by the World Bank and implemented by the Ministry of Energy alongside the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) and the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC).
“Inadequate electricity services pose a major barrier to socio-economic welfare,” said Helene Crasson Rex, Program Leader for Sustainable Development, WorldBank.
Adding that, “In short we know that real transformation cannot happen without energy and the importance of electricity access for human and economic development and the need to move away from business as usual has led to shift in strategic focus of electrification.”
The project targets 277,000 households and will be realized through the construction of about 151 mini-grids in the target counties as well as the installation of stand-alone solar systems.
“The World Bank is committed to supporting the Government of Kenya in achieving the universal access goal laid out in the Kenya National Electrification Strategy and is partnering with the Government to ensure that nobody in the target counties is left behind in accessing modern energy services,” said Patrick Thaddayos Balla, World Bank K-OSAP Task Team Leader.