Relative, economy-wide target to reduce emissions by 32% by 2030, relative to BAU of 143 MtCO2e. 79% of mitigation costs to be covered through international finance and 21% of mitigation costs to be covered domestically.





In its first NDC, Kenya aimed to reduce emissions by 30% relative to a BAU scenario of 143 MtCO2e by 2030. This target was entirely conditional on international support. In December 2020, Kenya submitted its updated NDC to the UNFCCC, setting a new target of reducing GHG emissions by 32% by 2030 relative to the BAU scenario, committing to bear 21% of the mitigation costs domestically.

Kenya strives to be a newly industrialised middle-income country by 2030, as outlined in its key development strategy “Vision 2030”. This development is expected to increase emissions from all sectors, but considerable emissions growth will come from the electricity sector. The current electricity mix is mainly clean (85% of 2019 system capacity provided by geothermal, hydro, wind and solar) with deliberate efforts by the government towards enhancing clean energy development, in particular geothermal power generation, which has grown very rapidly in recent years. However, Kenya also has domestic fossil fuel resources in the form of coal and oil, and plans are being made to exploit both sources, posing a challenge to its clean development pathway. The relative benefits of Kenya exploiting its large endowment of renewable energy resources versus domestic (and imported) fossil fuels need to be understood and communicated to help build support for low emissions development among key public and private actors.


During the first project phase, the A2A team collaborated closely with the Kenyan Climate Change Directorate (CCD) at the Ministry of Environment, and with the climate change focal point at the Ministry of Energy. The first analysis explored the alignment of energy sector planning with the ambition level laid out in the country’s NDC. This analysis has been shared with country partners but has not been made public. Further analyses included an assessment of “The role of renewable energy mini-grids in Kenya’s electricity sector” and “The role of geothermal and coal in Kenya’s electricity sector and implications for sustainable development”.

The A2A team also provided direct support to policy makers and planners in the power sector. In close collaboration with the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the A2A team supported the revision of the 2017-2037 Least Cost Power Development Plan (LCPDP) to include carbon emission projections, and by providing training to the technical LCPDP team. The Economic Impact Model (EIM-ES) and the Air-Pollution Impact Model (AIRPOLIM-ES) were used to analyse employment and health impacts of different LCPDP scenarios. The results were presented and the tools were handed over to Kenyan experts at EPRA. Results of the first project phase were summarised in a sector report called “Climate change and sustainable development in the Kenyan electricity sector – Impacts of electricity sector development on Kenya’s NDC”.


In the second phase of the project, the A2A team built on the good relationships established during the first phase and continued its activities in the energy sector. In close collaboration with CCD at the Ministry of Environment, EPRA, Kenya Power and GIZ, two main topics were identified as relevant, which the A2A team explored with the support of local partners, including EED Advisory and Decoalonize: the potential and implications of clean cooking for climate change mitigation and public health (“The Kenyan cooking sector – Opportunities for climate action and sustainable development“), and potential challenges associated with power sector decarbonisation and suitable intervention options to overcome these challenges in the context of Kenya Power’s Decarbonise the Energy Mix Initiative (“Kenya Power’s Decarbonising the Energy Mix Initiative – Scoping Study“). Both analyses reflect on the socio-economic implications of climate action in the energy sector, drawing findings of the EIM-ES and AIRPOLIM-ES which were developed during the first project phase. In November 2021, a side event at COP26 in Glasgow, co-organised by NewClimate Institute and IASS Potsdam with representatives from the Kenyan government and civil society, showcased the use of co-benefits assessment for policymaking and NGO work in Kenya.