Assertive policy and regulatory frameworks are essential in creating favorable conditions that would allow renewable energy technologies to grow and replace carbon-emitting fuels. Kenya signed a Paris Climate change treaty on greenhouse gas reduction obligations. The process of implementation of the Paris agreement on Renewable energy and energy efficiency has begun through the Least Developed Countries Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative (LDC REEEI) for Sustainable Development. The LDC REEEI is keen on providing clean and sustainable energy to those who cannot access electricity, improving energy efficiency and thus creation of jobs in the manufacturing industries. It is also in line with SDG7 on affordable and clean energy.
Kenya gained popularity when President Uhuru Kenyatta launched Africa’s largest wind power plant on July 19, 2019. The plant is located on the eastern shores of Lake Turkana that is known to be one of the windiest places on earth. It consists of a 365-turbine wind farm, each (turbine) with a capacity of 850 kilovolts. The wind power plant is connected to the national grid in Suswa and has the capacity to generate 15 per cent of the country’s installed capacity. It has a total installed capacity of 310 megawatts. This is a critical investment, keeping in mind that the electricity demand in East Africa is expected to quadruple in the next two decades.
The Lake Turkana wind power project is expected to contribute to the realisation of Uhuru’s Big Four agenda through reducing carbon taxation, which will attract investors to set up manufacturing industries in Kenya. This will lead to achieving the Government’s agenda to create 1.5 million jobs annually. In regards to achieving the Big Four’s affordable housing agenda, the wind power plant will see reduced cost of energy, thereby reducing the general cost of housing as desired by the State.
With the newly established wind power plant, the indoor air quality is expected to increase hence lowering the highly prevalent respiratory diseases in the region and especially Marsabit County. A reduced cost of energy will improve the agricultural practices in the country and beyond through powering irrigation systems, incubators for hatching chicks and other farm machinery.
Wind power is a renewable source of energy hence cannot be depleted over time. It is a climate friendly technology that has zero emissions. Renewable energy enhances a country’s energy self-sufficiency by reducing the reliance on fossil fuels. The development of this wind power plant will make it possible for Kenya to reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.