A Journey Towards Developing Renewable Energy in Kilifi County for Environmental Conservation and Improved Standards of Living

A Journey Towards Developing Renewable Energy in Kilifi County   for Environmental Conservation and Improved Standards of Living

Introduction / Context

Energy is a shared function between the National Government and County Governments. Under provisions of the Energy Act of 2019, County Governments are responsible for the development of renewable resources within the Counties. With different Counties undertaking this responsibility at different levels, Kilifi County has taken notable strides in harnessing renewable resources. This comes after a battle with deforestation for charcoal burning among most households in the County. Frequent kerosene use has also resulted in multiple health complications and fire incidents. With no lighting system in the local markets, it has been hard to conduct business within the County for fear of insecurity.

Implementation of the project

To deal with these challenges, Kilifi County has established an Energy Unit which is currently headed by an Assistant Director of Energy. The Unit has a total of ten technical officers with seven of them heading Energy units in the seven sub-counties — Ganze, Magarini, Kaloleni, Kilifi North, Kilifi South, Malindi and Rabai. 

The County Government of Kilifi has launched over 60 renewable energy projects from 2018 to 2022. Notable projects include Energy and cash transfer Mwangaza Mashinani, in which the County government collaborated with the Ministry of Social Protection, Energy4impact and UNICEF to install 3,000 solar home systems in households and residences of vulnerable members of the community, including orphans, widows and the elderly. The County worked with the partners by first identifying the areas that needed immediate attention, most being regions prone to high insecurity cases. After mapping the target areas, both the County and partners drafted key solutions, and lastly, the County identified relevant workforce and technical teams to help actualize the initiative. The project has installed 62 electrical floodlights, 200 solar streetlights and 100 solar high masts in market centres.

In partnership with the Energy4Impact through the Green Climate Fund (GCF), 3,000 improved jikos [stoves] have been distributed across Kilifi’s seven sub-counties. The County has also trained youth and women groups on the production of briquettes to avoid deforestation and air pollution caused by charcoal burning. To achieve this, Kilifi County has donated briquette-making machines to local youth polytechnics across all sub-counties. Through the donated machines, different youth and women groups have collaborated in selling the briquettes hence generating extra income.

  The County Assembly has enacted several laws, regulations and policies to promote the adoption of clean energy. Some of the key policies are the County Energy Bill, County Energy Regulation Manual, Wood Fuel Regulations and the County Energy Policy. Through the development of a GIS Energy Database to map renewable resources distribution, the County has been able to plan the management, development and utilization of its energy resources in all sub-counties.

Sustainability

The County aims to create more awareness on the use of biomass and other renewable sources of energy by training residents on the importance of adopting clean energy and environment conservation. Through training youth and women groups involved in briquette making as ToTs, the County aims to induct more people into the environmental conservation initiative. With laws and regulations passed by the County Assembly of Kilifi, residents are aware of the consequences involved when one makes a choice to either burn charcoal or go against a policy. The set policies are to guide and make existing and future initiatives sustainable and recognized by law.

Results of the practice

Through sensitization, residents are aware of the benefits of using renewable sources of energy for climate conservation.

With the donated briquette making machines, both women and youth groups are able earn extra income for their families

With policies like Wood Fuel Regulation, residents are aware of the consequences of charcoal burning. This understanding of the consequences associated with breaking the law has reduced the rate of deforestation for charcoal burning.

The installation of street lights has improved security and encouraged people to do business at night, hence achieving a 24-hour economy in the County.

 

Lesson Learned

Proper planning of projects before and during implementation, including timely procurement, is important to avert delays.

There is a need to create awareness among communities on existing County government processes towards renewable energy to avoid rejection by residents.

There is a need for the County government to work closely with the private sector and other energy stakeholders to implement more initiatives that support the use of renewable sources of energy.

Recommendations (Conclusion)

The adoption of renewable sources of energy is one of the ways to conserve the environment and deal with climate change. The earlier Counties embrace renewable sources of energy, the better for the sake of health aspect and other factors. Investments in the energy sector will not only provide energy security but also improve the whole chain of economic activities in the County, leading to wealth creation, job creation and overall improved living standards for the people. The clean-cooking technology is no longer a project but a strategy for women and youth empowerment in society, hence the need for a collaborative effort between County government and non-governmental agencies towards implementation of similar projects aimed at improving livelihood.

 

 

GIS Map for Households with Potential for Installation of Biogas Plant in Ganze Sub-County, Kilifi

GIS Map for Households with Potential for Installation of Biogas Plant in Ganze Sub-County, Kilifi

 

Further reading:

1.       Energy Act of 2019

https://www.epra.go.ke/download/the-energy-act-2019/

2.       Kilifi County Official Website

https://kilifi.go.ke/22-27/

Relevant County:
Date of Publication:
11 January, 2023
Author:

Eva Sawe & Nzei Mwende


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