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AfDB defends financing of natural gas power projects


AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina. PHOTO | AFP

The African Development Bank (AfDB) will continue financing natural gas projects despite environmental lobbyists claiming degradation, its president Akinwumi Adesina said.

Although natural gas produces about half as much carbon dioxide (C02) when burned as coal, some critics say that rising production of the commodity is emerging as one of the biggest drivers of climate change and that plans for industry expansion could stifle efforts to stabilise climate.

Dr Adesina, however, downplayed the concerns about the impact of natural gas on the environment and maintained that AfDB would continue financing such projects.

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“Renewable energy alone cannot power Africa…natural gas must remain part of Africa’s stable energy system,” Dr Adesina said last week during the bank’s annual general meeting in Accra.

The bank finances diverse renewable energy projects, including wind, solar and geothermal.

“Even if you triple the current amount of gas, it will still account for less than 0.3 percent of global emissions,” The AfBD boss added. Kenya is among nations seeking to tap the potential of natural gas to boost and stabilise its energy system.

The country plans to retire or convert heavy fuel oil-fired power plants to use liquefied natural gas by 2030 as it pursues a cleaner energy path to a wholly climate-friendly grid.

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), is conducting a study on reconfiguring the thermal power plants that account for about seven percent of the grid load.

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KenGen, which relies on hydropower and geothermal, said the conversion will help lower the cost of power in the country.

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