The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) envisions a global environment free from the threat of climate change with sustainable development, equity and justice for all. Awareness creation is one of the ways in which PACJA works to bridge the existing societal knowledge gap about climate change, climate threat coping mechanisms and wise use of natural resources.
PACJA and Womin, partner to visit renewable energy sites in Kenya
PACJA partnered with Womin - an African gender and extractive alliance based in South Africa to visit different renewable energy sites in Kenya. The aim of the visit whose participants were drawn from different countries in Africa was to learn, share ideas, analyze and critic existing renewable energy projects in different communities for possible replication in their communities of origin.
- The Holo Solar Project
The Holo solar project is situated in Holo market which is in Kisumu County. The project was established by the county government in 2016 to provide lighting to traders who had challenges working late without a source of light.
Pamela Adhiambo, a trader at Holo market says that the introduction of the solar project has reduced cases of insecurity. She says that traders can now work till 9.00PM which is an improvement both in time and health risks. She says that before the project, traders relied on tin lamps which were smoky and posed a health risk. They also could not work till late as most businesses closed by 7.00PM.
According to Paul Ouko who is the market’s chairman, “the project has positively impacted on the community. We have learnt new things, like turning soya beans into milk”. He adds that the solar project supports the entire Kisumu West Ward and plans are underway to expand the project to other wards within the county.
Pamela Adhiambo, a trader at Holo market with PACJA and Womin officials
- KenGen’s Geothermal Power Plant in Naivasha.
KenGen is the leading electricity producer in Kenya, producing about 80% of the power consumed in the country. The company uses various sources to generate electricity ranging from hydro, geothermal, thermal and wind. At the moment hydro is the leading source with and installed capacity of 819.9 Mega Watts, which is about 51% of the company’s installed capacity.
There company has four geothermal power stations namely: Olkaria 1, Olkaria ii, Olkaria iii and Olkaria IV. These stations generate thermal energy which is then stored in the Earth’s crust. To extract this energy, wells are drilled to tap steam and water at high temperatures.
The project has brought a lot of positive impacts on the local communities for instance:
- There is power supply to the households; electricity is now their source of light at night as opposed to torches and lamps which they used before.
- The project has established water collection points and constructed sand dams for water storage.
- The company offers scholarships to secondary and university students from schools near its installations. The scholarship programme which was established in 2005 provides tuition and boarding fees to needy children who are academically gifted. This gives them an opportunity to change their destiny.
3.Ngong Hills Wind Power Station
Ngong’ Hills Wind Power Station is located on the Northern part of Ngong’ Hills. This wind power station is the only one which is connected to the national grid, with a capacity of 25.5 Mega Watts generated from six Vestas Wind Turbines.
Ngong Hills Power Station began operations in 1993 with two wind turbines donated by the government of Belgium. The station is currently owned by Kenya Electricity Generating Company which has since added new turbines that have increased the power station's generation capacity to 25.5 megawatts from 5.1 megawatts.
The station contributes significantly to the national grid and the communities have benefited a lot in terms of power availability and efficiency in doing business. According to engineer David who works at the farm, the company is working on putting up a similar wind power station in Meru County to enable many more to benefit from this initiative.
4.Kibera Biogas Community Project
Kibera Biogas Community Project is an initiative which provides toilets and recycled energy to residents of Kibera, which is one of the slums in Kenya.
The project was started in 2004 by Umande Trust, a rights-based agency which partners with local communities and other organizations to transform water supply, sanitation and environmental services in Kenya’s urban centres.
The project has built a bio-center which contains built-in toilets, biogas-powered hot showers, a waste digester and a communal cooking area. Human waste from the toilets is channeled into a digester which collects methane that is emitted from breakdown of feacal material. The methane is then sold to the community as biogas which they use for cooking within the centers or to power hot showers.
The center which is run mostly by women, the youth and the elderly has greatly improved the lives of Kibera residents.
Roseline Amondi, one of the project beneficiaries says “the center has really changed my life and that of the people of Kibera. I’m now able to cook food for my clients in my restaurant and use the proceeds to pay school fees for my children”.
The project has also reduced the use of ‘flying toilets’ since Kibera residents now use the toilets built in the bio center and this has helped keep their environment clean.
Rose Masinde, a member of Umande trust says the project continues to encourage the community to use the toilets since the more people use the toilets the more energy that is generated in the bio center.
Lessons learnt in the exchange programme
At the end of the workshop participants were happy that the regional exchange had met their objectives. Precious Naturinda said she liked all the sites that she visited but of specific interest to her was the solar panel at Holo market.
She hopes to introduce the project to her community which receives a lot of sunshine, will likely benefit the locals and is not capital intensive. She applauded the workshop organizers and urged them to continue conducting similar workshops so that people, especially women from different countries can learn and adopt the use of renewable energy.