Africa Development Bank (AfDB)-managed Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) has approved a Sh102 million ($992,000) grant to prepare an “innovative” community-owned hydropower project in Meru.
The 7.8 megawatts Mutunguru hydropower project, is based on standard run-of-the-river technology on the Mutonga River in Meru County.
It features a new community ownership structure with returns accruing to members of the Mutunguru community.
“This significant community ownership and support makes it deserving of the SEFA intervention as a model to be considered in future bank operations,” said AfDB’s director-general for East Africa Region Gabriel Negatu.
The SEFA is a $95 million multi-donor facility funded by the governments of Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy.
It supports the sustainable energy agenda in Africa through grants to medium-scale renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects.
It also funds equity investments to bridge the financing gap for small and medium scale renewable energy generation projects and support the public sector to create an enabling environment for investments in sustainable energy.
“The Government of Kenya considers small hydro a top priority given the wide resources available, base-load properties and ease of integration into the grid,” said Patrick Kimathi of Mutunguru Hydroelectric Company.