Chief Officer for Energy and Industrialization Mr. Daniel Okia speaking to ACTS on Kisumu County’s Green Energy initiatives (Picture By Jacob Owiti)
By Matilda Atieno
As Kisumu moves towards embracing the green energy concept, addressing disparities in access and affordability have been determined as the solution towards a sustainable and equitable future.
The existence of the county directorate of green energy is a positive step towards setting up Kisumu with a greater focus on Renewable Energy (RE), green jobs and sustainable development path.
Often referred to as renewable energy/Clean energy, originates from natural sources or processes that are constantly replenished which principally includes, hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, and bioenergy.
In Kisumu, 45% of households have access to clean energy, with most preferred being solar energy as 60% of households use wood as a source of energy.
According to the chief officer for Energy and industrialization, Mr. Daniel Okia, there are many opportunities in RE that can be explored, noting that with sunshine hours in the region, solar potential has continued to dominate renewable capacity expansion all over the county and that Biogas as renewable energy is an affordable domestic energy source and solutions to meet the energy need in rural areas.
In an interview with African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), Mr. Okia also pointed out that the county government has given energy a big boost in terms of financing, which will go a long way in propelling Kisumu to the level of being energy efficient.
With the adoption of the policy energy master plan which calls on government to promote the development of RE as an alternative source of energy to mitigate climate change and to boost energy efficiency in the county, the department of energy has so far established energy centers in Nyang’oma in Muhoroni and holo in Kisumu west.
However, there are challenges in achieving the county government’s goal of renewable energy, which includes poverty level and lack of awareness on clean energy opportunities. To confront these barriers, the department of energy welcomes partnerships to co-identify clean energy projects and investment opportunities that will ultimately benefit the community with low-cost, affordable and sustainable clean energy solutions.
In this regard, efforts towards achieving sustainable RE have kicked off in Kisumu through the project dubbed “100% Renewables Cities & Regions Roadmap” which offers support to national and regional level governments to promote a move towards 100% renewable energy strategies with increased awareness and stakeholder engagement.
The project was endorsed by the ministry of energy for implementation in the County Governments of Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru with the aim of building a path for focus cities to finance and implement renewable energy projects, through the assessment of local RE potential and project concepts, as well as the development of financeable projects.
As Kisumu moves in this bold new direction, the 100% RE project calls on stakeholders to be active participants in providing valuable input and guidance on the formulation of processes that will promote renewable energy strategies at the local level.
The county government is particularly focused on ensuring that clean energy is affordable to everyone, and particularly to the highly energy-burdened households.
“With collaboration from stakeholders and partners we can ensure Kisumu reaches its energy goals while also helping vulnerable residents,” Says Mr. Okia.