The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) formerly known as the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) held a stake holder’s workshop at the Acacia Premier Hotel, Kisumu.
The workshop brought together stakeholders from the western region sugar industries with the aim of deliberating on electricity co-generation of sugar industries in the country.
Speaking during the event, the Director General of EPRA, Mr. Pavel Omieke stated that Kenya has been ranked 7th globally in geothermal consumption, adding that Kenya approximately has 13 sugar manufacturing companies and that there is need embrace embracing innovative ideas in the sector.
The workshop gave some of the challenges faced in sugar industry and co-generation which include; reduction in sugar cane growing due to delays in farmer payment, shut down of some sugar industries and their co-generation and mismanagement.”One major challenge is the issue of raw material supply.” Said Mr. Solomon Odera, the Sugar Directorate of Agriculture and Food Authority.
An overview of the big four agenda was emphasized citing manufacturing as one of the four key pillars of the development agenda. The EPRA deputy director of energy research and policy analysis Dr. John Mutua pointed out the 2019/2020 budget which allocates 700 million shillings allocated for farmers adding that sugar industry holds the key to transforming manufacturing industry.
According to Dr. John Mutua, the co-generation potential in Kenya was estimated to be about 300MW most of which will be generated in the sugar belt areas in Western Kenya. This was aimed to increase the diversification of investment plus in job creation and economic growth.
The workshop also challenged county government’s role in supporting sugar cane farmers by linking them to the milling industries.
Expectations from the workshop was that there would be linkages between EPRA and the sugar industries in the region and a new website, erc.go.ke formed to link everyone including the millers.
By Beatrice Akinyi, Wendy Noel and Lurie Zweri