Kenya launches renewable energy blueprint
Jun 10, 2008 - Xinhua
The Kenyan government has launched a blue print for promoting Kenya's renewable energy sources while at the same time conserving non-renewable energy sources.
The Kenya Energy Sector Environment Program (KEEP) which was launched by six state corporations will promote efficient energy use and environmental conservation.
Speaking during the launch in Nairobi late Monday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga called on all stakeholders in the ambitious program to work towards growing more trees for wood fuel and for commercial purposes.
"KEEP should aim at phasing out importation of electricity poles in the next five years. The self sufficiency in the supply of electricity poles will at the same time provide good businesses for private entrepreneurs as well as reduce the cost of distributing electricity," Odinga said.
The PM asked the ministry of energy to cushion the poor against high oil prices. He said the impact of high prices was being felt in all sectors of the economy, though the poor were the worst affected because they can't afford basic commodities like food and kerosene.
Odinga said high cost of kerosene has forced the poor to rely on charcoal, leading to deforestation in water catchments like Mau forest, Cherangani Hills and Aberdare ranges. "I have seen the destruction of more than 1,000 hectares of forest cover in Mau. The annual revenue loss from such destruction runs into tens of billions of shillings," he said.
The government spends an average of 1 billion shillings a year to import electricity poles.
The prime minister said that the nation's water catchment areas will be preserved despite the population pressure that is threatening to terminate them.
Energy minister Kiraitu Murungi said that the government would remove existing barriers and constrains to the adoption of efficiency and conservation technologies, "KEEP will promote energy efficiency and conservation practices at institutional and domestic levels and will undertake other actions deemed necessary to achieve efficiency in energy utilization.
About 82 percent of urban households use charcoal, while wood fuel is the main source of energy in rural areas.
The charcoal industry employs more than 200,000 people and contributes over 32 billion shillings (about 516 million U.S. dollars) to the economy annually.
Odinga asked the ministry to regulate the industry and promote commercial tree growing. He also urged KPLC to stop importing poles.
KPLC has relied on imported poles for the last five years from Chile, Finland, South Africa and Tanzania. The company spends 1 billion shillings (16 million dollars) annually on the poles.
KenGen Managing Director, Eddy Njoroge, said the company would shift power generation from diesel to geothermal and hydropower. " We have taken a deliberate strategy to pursue renewable sources of power from our indigenous geothermal and hydro sources," he said.
"About 85 percent of our planned new capacity will come from clean geothermal and hydro renewable sources," he added.