Mombasa County, located on the Kenyan coast, has taken a significant step towards addressing climate change and advancing sustainable energy solutions as a signatory to the Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA). As Kenya’s second-largest city, with an urban population of 1.2 million people, the fast-growing County recognises the crucial need for an uninterrupted power supply for its residents and government services. In addition to its rising energy demand, the County has also experienced increased energy costs due to recent tariff adjustments in 2018 and 2023.
In response to these challenges, CoM SSA has partnered with the County Government of Mombasa to assess the potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in public buildings. CoM SSA partner, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), is assisting in performing a baseline assessment and building a pipeline of solar rooftop and energy-efficient technologies in ten high-consuming facilities. By harnessing Mombasa’s abundant solar potential, the County aims to reduce energy costs and align with the Sustainable Development Goals to transform Mombasa into a smart and green city.
With this initiative, named Urban Smart Energy (USE), Mombasa County and CoM SSA will assess the feasibility of these projects, aiming to attract private sector investment by establishing a compelling business case. CoM SSA will closely cooperate with relevant County departments, initially focusing on ten sites, while also facilitating capacity-building activities for county staff.
As a first step, CoM SSA has conducted a preliminary assessment of buildings and installed real-time smart energy meters to accurately measure power consumption. The meters, supplied by VEER.IO will collect real-time data on energy consumption, aiding in determining the appropriate size of the renewable energy system in each of the ten county-owned facilities.
The first pilot smart energy meters were installed at Kongowea Market, the largest market in the County, and a Municipal Yard. Installations for eight additional buildings including hospitals, the County Assembly, and the Governor’s office followed suit this month.
These meter readings help identify opportunities for renewable energy, improve energy efficiency, and provide data-based insights that attract investments. Over the course of four months, the data collected will be used to develop a baseline assessment of the technical and financial feasibility of the project. This report will be a valuable tool for attracting the private sector and financiers who can invest in energy projects under an energy-as-a-service arrangement. Through this approach, the county aims to secure suppliers and financiers who can install and supply power to the facilities at a lower cost than grid supply.
Excitement resonates from the County team as data starts to flow onto the online dashboard, as they will also use this data to troubleshoot and better operate and maintain their electrical systems. After four months, the data will be used for report writing, but the meters will stay on site for the next 24 months, enabling the county to access real-time data for various internal purposes.
By embracing renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies, Mombasa aims to not only reduce its energy costs, but also enhance its resilience to climate change. Further, the County seeks to foster private-sector partnerships and boost the local economy. With continued efforts such as these, Mombasa County is making tangible progress towards clean energy access, and serves as an inspiring example for other cities in the region.