Africa Shares Lessons Learned (so Far) in Renewable Energy
Teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, and Tanzania joined counterparts from around the world at the annual pilot countries meeting for the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program in Low Income Countries (SREP) in Nairobi, Kenya from 5 to 7 March 2012. Held annually to provide a space for pilot countries to discuss experiences, lessons learned and best practices in developing and activating SREP investment plans, the meeting this year offered African nations the opportunity to showcase their progress in advancing initiatives in renewable energy.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) also attended to lend support to the African countries, exchange ideas and share its lessons learned as an implementing agency of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), of which the SREP is a part.
Mali, Ethiopia and Kenya have all completed their SREP investment plans, thus were among the countries to present and lead discussions on renewable energy technologies, financing instruments, private sector engagement, and the challenges of designing and implementing systems to monitor results. A key challenge shared by many pilot countries centers on overcoming roadblocks to stakeholder engagement and consultations. Participants agreed it can be difficult to lay the groundwork and time consuming to build consensus, but meaningful stakeholder engagement ultimately leads to stronger investment plans with broader support.
Kenya has begun implementing its SREP investment plan with launch of the Menengai geothermal plant. A full-day learning workshop focused on Kenya’s experience and considered how countries prioritize energy interventions to be financed by the SREP, and how the SREP is being used to leverage resources and investments from development partners and private sector to achieve the objectives of a common programmatic national approach. This was followed by a field trip to the Kenya’s Olkaria geothermal power plant to demonstrate the technology and future prospects.
A joint session organized with Norway’s Energy+ initiative brought together SREP countries and representatives of the private sector to explore ways to build partnerships and mobilize investments in renewable energy. Kenya also participated on this panel which highlighted the need for solid baseline data about national markets, early support of projects to absorb start-up risks and building domestic capacity to efficiently and effectively facilitate private sector involvement.
SREP pilot countries will meet again at the annual CIF Partnership Forum to take place in Turkey in November 2012.