UNEP DTU, along with both public and private partners, is embarking on a new project Supporting sustainable mini-grid development and production of wind turbines in Kenya, with the objective to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth in rural Kenya. The project is part of Danish goverment's new programme, Danida Market Development Partnerships, to stimulate efforts at developing public-private partnerships to support developing countries, and to reach Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 on Partnerships. The project will be a step towards reaching SDG goals 7, 'ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all', and SDG 13, 'taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts'.
The Danish Finance Minister, Kristian Jensen, and Minister for Develoment Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, met at Vestas in Aarhus today to present this new programme that highlights cooperation with Danish business in developing countries.
For the project, UNEP DTU Partnership will team up with Sustainable Energy, DTU Wind Energy, DTU CEE – Centre for Electric Power & Energy, Kenya Climate and Innovation Centre (KCIC), Rural Electrification Authority (REA), Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) along with private sector partners Vestas Wind Systems and a private mini-grid developer.
The aim of the project is to develop a market for low-cost, partly locally produced wind turbines for rural electrification. The project will demonstrate the technical, social and economic feasibility of integrating a wind turbine into a smart solar-powered mini-grid in Kenya, and will develop this concept into a viable business for the private companies involved, having the technical, economic and management capacity to exploit it.
The ministerial visit highlights that Vestas, a Danish company, has now been approved for funding to develop a new wind turbine adapted micro grids as part of this project in Kenya.
Ulla Tørnæs, Minister for Development Cooperation and responsible for the programme, said: "There has been tremendous interest and fierce competition to get the support of the new programme. It shows that large parts of the business community agree that there is a link between their long-term success - and the achievement of the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals. I am pleased that Vestas will start, and Vestas' commitment to a project in Kenya is a good example of a win-win-win project. First, Kenyans will get access to electricity, which can further increase local production, create jobs and growth. Secondly, the energy is green, so the growth is sustainable. And third, Vestas strengthens its position in the Kenyan market, where there is a large unmet need for innovative energy solutions."
The outcomes expected of the project include creation of local jobs in manufacturing, assembly, installation, O&M of low cost turbines in mini-grids; establishing local businesses for manufacturing parts of small modern wind turbines; and reducing cost of electricity provided by mini-grids, benefitting disadvantaged communities.