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Innovation and Renewable Electrification in Kenya (IREK)

As the global climate change regime moves ahead towards 2020, there will be increasing investments related to climate change mitigation and adaptation in poor countries. Ensuring that the most adequate technologies are selected and that they are diffused and used in such a way that the outcome is better living conditions for the population is a major challenge.


This project studies two specific low-carbon technologies solar photovoltaic and wind power and it takes as its starting point the role international sources of knowledge can play for Kenya. It explores whether or not actors originating from China have the potential to provide particularly relevant low carbon technologies that bring benefits to the poor in Africa as compared to actors from Denmark and Germany. In particular, it focuses on the degree to which certain technologies create opportunities for more capability building in Kenyan firms and individuals involved in the sector.


Project activities include three PhD students (2 at Moi University in Kenya and 1 at Aalborg University in Denmark) studying the current status of Kenyan solar PV and wind innovation system trajectories in Kenya and externally; a series of in-depth case studies analysis of significant solar PV and wind power projects in Kenya; a series of surveys of the current state of the policy environment and; a database of technological capability building in solar PV and wind power projects in Kenya.


Current findings from the project are as follows:

  1. Solar PV and wind sectors are fundamentally different in the approach policy actors and practitioners in the sector take towards them.  Small wind has until now been relatively neglected
  2. It is possible to identify differences in the capability building trajectories that are likely between projects that have a significant involvement of Northern based actors and those projects with a significant involvement of Southern based actors
  3. We have a working hypothesis at the moment, based on the data collected so far, that we are likely to see more capability building in the deployment chain i.e. during a solar PV or wind power project design, construction, operation and maintenance activities than through the manufacturing chain. 

Further details of the project can be found at: http://irekproject.net


Current project publications are:




Partner Institution(s): 

  • Aalborg University (AAU), Denmark
  • African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), Kenya
  • Moi University, School of Engineering, Kenya
  • Moi University, Department of Business and Economics, Kenya


Start Date: January 1, 2015   End Date: December 31, 2019