Energy and power supply in Eastern African countries are among the world’s lowest, and the region represents only 1.5% of global primary energy consumption vis-à-vis 6% of total population. Only a minor share of the energy resources in the region is currently being exploited. These include substantial natural gas reserves along the coast of Tanzania and Mozambique, and modern renewable energy (RE), which is abundant throughout the region (including solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal), albeit with a different mix in each country. This paper contributes to the East Africa Shared Gas Initiative joint project by investigating the role of renewable energy in East Africa. For each Eastern African country, we review current RE projects, as well as the untapped potential and domestic RE policy. We proceed analysing the status quo and discussing the main political, economic, and technical challenges for an emergence of widespread renewable power generation in the region. We also make reference to the potential complementarity that renewables could exhibit with natural gas in fostering a sustainable energy and economic development of East Africa.