GREENER FUTURE

Take a stand on renewable energy

We need to stop playing on both sides of the field at the same time.

In Summary

• What is the point of investing a lot of resources in fossil fuels, yet the whole world is moving towards a cleaner future?

• We know the adverse effects associated with fossil fuels—global warming hence climate change.

The Sh70 billion Lake Turkana wind power project in Loiyangalani, Marsabit county on August 16, 2016.
The Sh70 billion Lake Turkana wind power project in Loiyangalani, Marsabit county on August 16, 2016.
Image: JACK OWUOR

Isn’t it time we applaud ourselves as Kenyans for charting a path towards achieving a greener future? The launch of the Lake Turkana Wind Power Plant, which by the way is Africa’s largest wind power plant, is incredible. A step towards cleaner, reliable, low-cost energy.

The launch is a vital step towards achieving Kenya’s ambitious target of 100 percent shift to renewable energy by 2020. Going by the current standing of energy source, 70 percent of the country’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources such as geothermal and hydropower sources.

The 100 percent shift to green energy by 2020 may seem unattainable given the current standing and the controversial issues surrounding the establishment of coal power plants in Kitui and Lamu counties.

What is the point of investing a lot of resources in fossil fuels, yet the whole world is moving towards a cleaner future? I am one of those who don’t support any attempt to venture in fossilised fuel sources.

Instead, focus all energies and resources towards scaling up the existing greener power plants. Kenya has a greater potential for solar energy, geothermal, and wind power, which are currently underexploited.

We either pool all the resources to exploit the potential we have or forget about meeting the national and global goals of switching to renewable energy sources.

If we are to fulfil the plans outlined under the new Electrification Strategy of providing electricity to all Kenyans by 2022 and a 100 percent renewable energy by 2020, then we should work extra hard, strengthen the commitment and walk the talk. A significant rural population in the country have no electricity yet.

I wouldn’t want to say that we are not on the right track; we are. In fact, we are doing better than some developed countries. We are leading the way. The willingness and determination is what is setting us ahead of the game.

We need to stop playing on both sides of the field at the same time. We either pool all the resources to exploit the potential we have or forget about meeting the national and global goals of switching to renewable energy sources.

We know the adverse effects associated with fossil fuels—global warming hence climate change. Combustion of fossil fuels releases carbon particles into the atmosphere that trap the sun’s heat resulting in increased atmospheric temperatures, thus global warming.

The effects are long-term and irreversible. Why would we want to create a world that is uninhabitable to us and future generations? Barely a month ago there was a heatwave across Europe. Days later, another heatwave was reported to be responsible for several deaths in the United States.

Such occurrences signal serious problems ahead if we continue with business as usual without considering the potential consequences of our actions.

It is our time, Kenya, to bury coal in the ground and exploit solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower sources for a better tomorrow.

Environmental scientist. [email protected]