Kenya has been ranked fifth globally in an annual Bloomberg index measuring investments and opportunities in clean energy, underlining the country’s position as the centre of renewable energy in Africa.

The BloombergNEF (BNEF) latest Climatescope report says that Kenya’s rise for the first time in the global top five has been backed by the higher contribution of solar, wind and geothermal capacity into the energy mix.

These three now account for up to 65 percent of the country’s energy sources.

Kenya, which had Sh140 billion investments in clean energy sources in 2018, ranked the best in Africa and together with Morocco made it to the top 10 list, beating many others from the developed world, including Europe where most of the clean energy investments are sourced.

His Excellency Pres. Kenyatta commissioning the Garissa Solar Power Plant comprising 206,232 solar Phoyovoltaic Panels with an installed capacity of 54 MW.

“Kenya appears for the first time in the Climatescope top five. The country is gradually increasing its share of non-large hydro renewables by adding solar, wind and geothermal,” says the Bloomberg report.

“In 2018, Kenya recorded its highest ever clean energy investment with $1.4 billion (Sh140 billion). Kenya also accounted for over a third of all 2018 foreign investment into Sub-Saharan Africa.”

The Climatescope 2019 index methodology includes 167 indicators and sub-indicators split into three key topic areas that encompass each country’s previous accomplishments, its current investment environment, and the future opportunities it presents.

Kenya scored 2.52 on the index, behind India (2.93), Chile (2.85), Brazil (2.76) and China (2.59).

The country was praised for its extensive renewable energy value chain as the country boots its contribution of clean energy, which is also cheaper to produce compared to thermal energy.

Some of the benefits of clean/renewable energy include:

Reducing the impact we have on global warming

Renewable energy is clean and comes from green sources that will allow us to respond to global warming instead of contributing to its negative effects, many of which have serious and devastating downstream effects.

Providing a virtually endless source of energy

One of the biggest benefits of renewable energy is that it won’t run out. It’s even in the name. Gas, coal, and oil are becoming increasingly difficult to procure and process. The sun, water, and wind will provide a virtually never-ending supply of energy that everybody can use together. As such, many forms of renewable energy offer hope for those in developing nations in which traditional fossil fuel sources are either unavailable, inaccessible or too expensive.

Can drastically improve public health

Pollution is a major contributor to sickness and poor health, and we are doing it to ourselves. Not only is renewable energy clean, but it prevents us from polluting the elements that could otherwise be used as our source of energy. The use of gas and coal contributes both directly and indirectly to breathing problems, heart disease, cancers, and many other debilitating and life-threatening conditions.

Saving valuable resources (including money)

Many individuals operate under the (often false) pretence that renewable energy is more costly and thus not economically feasible or affordable enough to implement. The assumption that coal, gas, and fuel are the only affordable option is false; the use of renewable energy only requires that we pay for the initial setup.

Although the initial installation of renewable energy sources may be expensive, they eliminate the cost of refills, maintenance, and the cost of operating and using energy in the first place. The sun, wind, and other natural sources are absolutely free, so in the end, you will be saving thousands of dollars immediately after the initial investment of installation. Further, in the US and abroad, many nations and governments offer large tax incentives and even grants for updating to more environmentally friendly energy options.

Creating jobs and opportunity

According to Forbes, jobs involving clean and renewable energy grew 3.6% in 2018 adding approximately 110,000 new jobs with that number projected to increase to 6% by the end of 2019 and continue this upward trend well into 2020 and beyond.

The use of renewable energy requires additional specialised labour than do traditional energy sources. The technology and know-how needed for the successful design, development, production, and installation represent a major job opportunity, with this budding field within the energy sector projected to grow with no signs of slowing down.

It is estimated that the use of renewable energy will employ about 24 million people worldwide, particularly from the solar industry and wind industry. Manufacturing labour, construction and turbine installation, logistics, finances, transportation needs, and legal consultation jobs are just a few of the necessary labour workers that are needed to make the use of renewable energy a possibility.

Relying less on foreign energy sources

Renewable energy can be produced locally, which is beneficial when it comes to our reliance on foreign sources that can increase or decrease supply at will and thus impact pricing at the pumps. At this time, our main source of energy comes from fossil fuels, which the United States could not use without depending on outside sources. Close to 60% of our fossil fuels are imported, and those imports are extremely expensive to begin with. The use of renewable energy will not only decrease the dirty pollution, but it will also save money from importing fossil fuel, and eliminate our need for foreign assistance.

Adapted from the Business Daily.