Review of the small wind turbine sector in Kenya: Status and bottlenecks for growth

L.M. Kamp, LFI Vanheule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Rural electrification has been a long-standing goal in Kenya, but there is still a long way to go with only 7% rural access to electricity. Therefore, there lies great potential for small wind turbines (SWT) in areas with sufficient wind resources. This paper presents a review of the SWT sector in Kenya. The review consists of a description of the status of the sector and a more in-depth investigation into factors and dynamics that hinder sector growth. This investigation is performed by using a combination of two theoretical approaches: Strategic Niche Management (SNM) and the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP). The main insights from this review are that the SWT sector in Kenya is growing but is characterized by one-time experiments, fragmented learning experiences, lack of focus and low quality products and services. The weakly aligned network with many underperforming actors and unaligned expectations is the main cause of the weak current status of the sector. Despite the low rural electricity access and growing electricity demand, niche upscaling remains cumbersome due to external factors such as corruption, poverty, lack of innovation and an anti-entrepreneurial mind-set. The results of this review serve as inputs for recommendations for all niche actors on what can be done to make the niche grow. In addition, the paper includes ideas on how the SNM and MLP approaches could become better suited for reviewing and analyzing renewable energy technologies in developing countries such as SWTs in the Kenyan context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-480
Number of pages11
JournalRenewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Issue numberSeptember
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Available online 15-05-015


  • Small wind turbine
  • Kenya
  • Strategic Niche Management
  • Multi-Level Perspective


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