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Impact investors steering towards renewable energy investments in Africa

  • By Vivian Kwame
  • April 16, 2021

The growing concern for the environment, climate change and its destructive consequences, combined with advancements in technology, have led to the rise in demand for alternative energy resources. Due to this, renewable energy investment is no longer just an idea or a far fetched dream. Instead it is now being considered a profitable avenue and environmentally conscious venture by investment companies who are seeking to advance green growth.

Renewable energy investment, a sub-category of environmental investment, specifically relates to investing into companies that focus on renewable energy sources like wind, solar, hydropower, biofuels technology and systems that relate to these sources.

Without a doubt the future looks green for the renewable energy market as investors are now steering their way towards green energy investments. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) estimated last year that between now and 2050, 77% of investments in new power generation will be in renewables.

The ongoing pandemic might have slowed things down, however, it is important that governments and investors treat it not as a signal to slow down, but as a need to speed up. There is also the need to prioritize the clean energy industry over the fossil fuel industry given the benefits it offers such as high economic yield returns, 63million job opportunities by 2050 and its cheaper compared to fossil fuel.

In Africa, renewable energy investment is swiftly becoming popular. For instance, at the end of 2020, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) partnered to scale up renewables investments in Africa. Through this partnership, the two institutions aim to support Africa’s energy transition and achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy in Africa by 2030.

In Kenya, Kenya Climate Ventures (KCV) is walking a similar path. The impact investing company has invested in five clean tech companies within the renewable energy sector dealing with solar and biofuels. 

Ofgen Ltd, a spin-off from Strathmore University’s Energy Research Center, operates in the solar energy space. They design and construct solar powered stations complete with back-up storage batteries for commercial and industrial businesses looking to make savings from energy costs and lowering their Carbon footprint.

Additionally, Ofgen has an eco-friendly mobility arm known as Solar E-Cycles, through which it assembles solar-powered tricycles and four-wheeled cycles. With the support of KCV, they have installed 1.5MW solar grid Williamson Tea in Kaimosi.

Sunken Limited distributes solar-powered lights, solar-powered irrigation pumps, and has a cookstove production facility in Kakuma. 

The biofuel companies are Vuma biofuels, Kings Biofuel and Kuni Safi which deal with the production of environmental friendly briquettes within different parts of the country. They all have a common goal of promoting clean energy in Kenya for a safer environment and healthier lifestyle.

The above organisations embody what KCV stands for- accelerating the development of clean energy technologies in Kenya– by investing in impact enterprises. KCV does this by providing them with seed capital, technical and management advisory services in renewable energy, thereby facilitating attainment of social, environmental and economic goals in the society through private enterprises.