Actis company BTE Renewables (BTE), working in close coordination with Craftskills Limited and global environmental non-profit The Nature Conservancy (TNC), have arranged an innovative financing agreement for the Kipeto Wind Power Project (Kipeto), in Kenya, to advance local conservation efforts.
Located 45km from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, Kipeto is the second-largest wind power project in Kenya, with the capacity to provide clean energy to 250,000 households. In an initiative that will deepen Kipeto’s ties to the area and its residents, BTE is implementing an ambitious Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) that works in partnership with the local community to safeguard the surrounding flora and fauna. Developed in coordination with leading conservation experts, the BAP will entail job creation through the construction of predator-proof animal enclosures for local farmers and novel efforts to protect endangered vultures, with activities including enhanced monitoring and carcass clearance, radio tracking, awareness campaigns, and the introduction of raptor rescue protocols.
The conservation components of the BAP will be financed through a $10m fixed-rate mezzanine loan arranged by TNC that features an annual funding agreement that will run throughout the life of the wind power project. Deployment of these funds will be governed by the biodiversity subcommittee of Kipeto’s Board, which comprises leading independent local and international avifauna organisations. TNC has also joined this biodiversity committee and will provide technical assistance for the committee’s implementation of the BAP.
Lisa Pinsley, Head of Africa at Actis, commented: “We are proud for our portfolio company BTE Renewables and the landmark Kipeto project to be entering into this engagement with TNC, utilising the creativity and expertise at both organisations to come together and support sustainable infrastructure development.”
Nikhath Zigmund, Business Development Director at BTE commented: “This collaboration between BTE and TNC demonstrates the opportunities for private capital to be deployed in novel ways to address conservation challenges. We look forward to working closely with TNC on the Kipeto biodiversity committee to support the needs of the local community and also honour our commitment to the net gain of critically endangered vultures.”
Charlotte Kaiser, Managing Director of The Nature Conservancy’s NatureVest impact investing team commented: “With the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, we must find every available opportunity to invest in ways that benefit nature and people together. Thanks to the commitment of all of Kipeto’s partners and the investors funding this loan, we are able to support biodiversity and communities while also investing in the renewable energy infrastructure that is a critical part of the fight against climate change.”
This loan agreement helps to deepen Actis and BTE’s existing cooperation with this community, which began in 2017. In a separate initiative during the construction period, each landowner received rent and a portion of the revenues generated by the turbines on their land. This programme of cooperation is formalised through a Community Implementation Committee in which all stakeholder groups including women, elders and youth are represented. To date, benefits to the community beyond the income generated include financial literacy and vocational skills training, as well as the construction of 83 new homes for the landowning families.
Image: Monitoring and recording of raptors flying through the windfarm and close to the turbines by Jonathan Kotikash and Sylvester Karimi (both Kipeto Energy PLC bird observers).