Years after the industrial revolution, which paved way for development for countries like United Kingdom and USA, there are discussions now on clean energy where countries want to move from the use of oil and coal to renewable energy. However, when the attention is turned towards Africa, there are concerns, as some member nations think clean energy is expensive and Africa countries are not ready for this form of “luxury”.  Yet again, some countries in East Africa are doing well when it comes to the issue of renewable energy. Others also argue that, clean energy is important for the world, particularly for Africa, as it has potential to offer African countries a lot of benefits regarding its development agenda and that, it would be more of a “Blessing” for African nations to adopt this new technology. Thus, this panel will explore the potential benefits and challenges of Clean Energy in the context of Africa and how this form of Energy would help Africa in its pursuit of development.

 

rjordan_profile_picDr. Rhonda Jordan originally hails from the Washington, DC metropolitan area; she studied electrical engineering and obtained her bachelors and masters degrees from Columbia University. Rhonda then entered MIT’s Engineering Systems Division and recently received her PhD, researching power system development in developing countries. In 2008, Rhonda worked for the United Nations Environment Programme on rural electrification in East Africa, developing business models for off-grid electrification. With regulatory knowledge and experience, technical ability and the strong desire to improve access to modern energy in a sustainable manner, Rhonda is one of the founding members of EGG-energy, Inc.

 

Dan Murphy_PhotoDan Murphy has over 15 years of professional experience working on development issues in Africa, with the past decade spent at the World Bank. In his current role, he leads teams preparing and supervising the implementation of large energy generation projects in central and West Africa. In addition, Mr. Murphy manages Lighting Africa, a joint program with the International Finance Corporation that seeks to offer modern, affordable lighting and improved energy access to communities in sub-Saharan Africa, largely through the use of solar technology. He is also helping the Bank’s Africa Energy Group to identify prospective grid-scale renewable investments across the continent. Mr. Murphy holds a BA from Bates College and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

 

Elizabeth_photoElizabeth Njenga is an energy strategy and financing expert with a focus on energy development in East Africa. She draws from over 15 years of experience in East Africa and across the African Region in strategic planning and corporate financial management, latterly focusing on energy development in Africa. Over the last 13 years, Njenga has been involved in the planning, financing, and development of challenging energy projects, which have yielded significant contributions to the social economic development of those that need it most. Some of these projects include the 280 MW Olkaria Geothermal Power Project.

Currently under construction, the 280 MW Olkaria Geothermal Power Project by KenGen will be the second largest geothermal power plant in the world in terms of output. When completed in 2014, the project will cost over USD1 billion and raise the country’s total electricity output by 20%, bringing the country closer to the target of generating 50% of its electricity through clean geothermal power by 2018. In addition, Njenga has been involved in the Olkaria 560MW Geothermal Project Pipeline, which plans to develop an additional 560MW of geothermal power plants through public private partnerships. Furthermore, she has completed Feasibility studies for a 400MW wind farm, and a solar power farm.

Over the last 13 years, Njenga has been involved in successful fundraising activities for various energy projects totalling nearly USD2 billion, including acting as a financial advisor/arranger in the raising of USD1 billion for the 280MW geothermal power project, structuring of a USD330 million public infrastructure bond offer at the Nairobi Securities Exchange, and the KenGen initial public offer.

She holds a MBA in Finance and Strategic Management from the University of Nairobi, a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Moi University, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Management from the Maastricht School of Management. She is also a certified public accountant (CPA) and hold various certifications from the International Law Institute and the Institute of Public Private Partnership (IP3) in Washington DC. Currently, she is pursuing a MSc in Finance with a focus in mergers and acquisitions from the University of Wales.

 

Kate_PhotoDr. Kate Steel recently joined Google.org’s Energy and Sustainability team, focusing on energy access.  Previously, she worked as an Energy Specialist in the African Energy Unit of the World Bank and was one of the program managers of Lighting Africa.  Prior to working at the World Bank, she consulted on energy access projects in South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. She has a PhD in Engineering Systems from MIT, a MS in Engineering-Development Technologies from University of Melbourne, and BS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford.

 

 

Robert StonerDr. Robert Stoner (Moderator) is Associate Director of the MIT Energy Initiative, co-Director of the Tata Center for Technology and Design, and a contributor to the ongoing MIT Future of Solar Energy Study. His current research interests include energy technology and policy for developing countries, and design for resource constrained settings.

Stoner has worked extensively in academia and industry throughout his career, having built and managed successful technology startups in the semiconductor, IT and optics industries. From 2007 through 2009 he lived and worked in Africa and India while serving in a variety of senior roles within the Clinton Foundation.

Dr. Stoner earned his Bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from Queen’s University, and his Ph.D. from Brown University in condensed matter physics.