At the onset of a solar flare, initiated by magnetic reconnection high in the corona, reconnection outflow sets up warm proton beams (PBs), streaming down along just-reconnected field lines through steady underlying plasma. Incorporating this scenario, we study excitation of kinetic Alfvén waves (KAWs) by PBs, keeping the effects of a beam-induced electric field and thermal effects. Taking into account the high growth rate (∼105 s−1), short relaxation distance (∼106 cm), and energy flux partition between the waves and the beam after relaxation (PKAW/PPB∼1), we conclude that PB-driven KAW instability is an efficient energy conversion mechanism in flaring loops. The quasilinear spectral energy concentration at the largest wavenumbers indicates the possibility of nonlinear spectral modification. We suggest that the resulting turbulence of KAWs plays an important role in the flare plasma energization.