Kenya and renewable energy

One way we can increase our ability to work and make agriculture profitable is to focus on sustainable methods. Africa in particular needs renewed attention and alternative methods in its approach to farming. Kenya is a good example of this, as it’s a country currently examining the impact of alternative energy as a way to increase production.

Renewable energy in Kenya

As CleanLeap notes:

“Kenya is a first in many a renewable energy innovation. The country houses a number of solar-energy innovations that touch on, among other sectors, agriculture and the retail sector.”

Agriculture is one of the most important sectors in the world. Creating a well-functioning, effective and highly productive agricultural sector isn’t just a way to improve business. It’s essential to feeding the world.

When looking at Kenyan agriculture, we need to examine these interventions attached to sustainability and growth in terms of eco-friendly responses. The Williamson Tea Estate in Kenya is one such place which focused on solar-powered farming technology. Since adopting alternative energy, they’ve seen energy costs cut down tremendously since 2014.

Part of the larger plan

As the Guardian notes, this has been a plan for two years. The aim was to build solar power plants on nine sites which could “provide more than half the country’s electricity by 2016.” The calculated total cost was $1.2bn and was a partnership between the Kenyan government and private companies – with the state contributing about 50% of the cost.

Many experts have argued this is the direction Africa as a whole should take. Energy plants are just one way to fight the energy crisis plaguing the region. As two experts noted in The Conversation:

“There should also be investment in energy efficiency, which is no-build and passive solution. An example of an energy efficient solution is the integration of good insulation in the design of dwellings as this reduces the need to use heaters or air conditioners.”

This means we also need to educate citizens and encourage environmentally-friendly practises. When South Africa was undergoing load shedding issues, the government was forced to teach citizens to turn off unused lights, devices and so on. They encouraged the use of gas burners and stoves.

Though this was done out of the desperate situation particular to the country, it applies wider. After all, there is a desperate energy situation throughout the continent and world. We can’t fix only one aspect, but must look wider.

(Image credit: Warren Rohner / WikiPedia)