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17 – 18 September 2019
KICC, Nairobi, Kenya

With the support of

Ministry of Energy Kenya

Expert Interviews

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20 Aug 2019

FINANCE INTERVIEW: “Increasing the availability of renewables to the common business operator”

Annemarie Roodbol
Exclusive interview with Chalker Kansteiner, Founder, GridX Africa in Kenya. At the upcoming Future Energy East Africa in September in Nairobi he is part of a panel discussion on: “Financing renewable commercial and industrial energy projects”.

1)    Let’s start with some background on yourself, your organisation and the kind of work that you do in the energy sector.
GridX Africa provides holistic renewable power solutions to businesses across Africa. Our team has strong Africa infrastructure development experience and successful track records in renewable energy globally. Our approach to C&I solar and battery projects has launched us into a position of having an unprecedented amount of project pipeline through our ability to deliver innovative applications of solar and battery technology, re-purposing our meaningful development and finance experience from large scale utility power projects onto smaller C&I projects, and leveraging our extensive pan-African networks. 

2)    Any exciting projects that you are currently involved in that you can share?  
We have projects in construction or operations in Tanzania, Mozambique and Kenya. Our clients range from safari lodges and beach hotels to agriculture businesses and industrial clients. 
Grid X
Photograph caption: GridX Africa's project in Singita Grumeti, Tanzania.

3)    What in your view are the main challenges in the power sector in Kenya right now? And East Africa?
In the C&I space particularly, there's a shortfall of experienced developers that can deliver technically and economically sound renewable solutions; but the market is educating itself and the level of quality is improving rapidly. In 5 to 10 years’ time, the energy space in the region will look far different as distributed power generation and smaller-scale renewable systems take the place of the conventional large-scale projects. 

4)    What in your view are the main opportunities currently?
GridX has focused on providing the upfront financing required for C&I project installations allowing clients the opportunity to run their businesses off renewable energy without having to write a huge check, which increases the availability of renewables to the common business operator and will accelerate scaling of the strategy.

5)    What is your vision for the industry? 
As various countries in the region continue to tailor their regulatory frameworks to allow for private sector participation in power generation, transmission and distribution, the market will find ways to deliver power more reliably and across a broader geography at cheaper prices. East Africa will become a pioneer by demonstrating a whole new way to organize a regional energy market in a sustainable way.

6)    What surprises you about this sector?
How quickly things are moving---people have found some amazing ways to innovate business models and use renewable energy technology in ways that deliver results, and the market is responding by looking towards solar, wind, geothermal and other renewables as the future, rather than coal, diesel and other conventional solutions. The conventional solutions have failed to deliver results and the regional power sector has suffered historically, but we're very optimistic about the future. 

7)    At the upcoming Future Energy East Africa, you are part of the conference programme. Can you give us a sneak preview of what your expectations are?
Looking forward to the event and glad to be involved. 

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