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How KenGen’s efforts globalized Kenya’s push for Climate Change

Kenya Electricity Generating Company, KenGen has proved globally to be the real African giant of Clean Energy as the country pushes towards the realisation of the effects of climate change.

Despite being one of the most hit countries in the global south by climate change, some of Kenya’s climate efforts and successes in 2021 are worth applauding.

How KenGen’s efforts globalized Kenya’s push for Climate Change

Kenya Electricity Generating Company, KenGen, was one of them, becoming the first public service agency to join the UN-backed climate action campaign ‘Business Ambition for 1.5°C’ this year.

This was a sign of Kenya’s commitment (through the parastatal) to reduce harmful emissions by focusing more on renewable energy sources. And KenGen must periodically report its achievements on this for accountability.

KenGen has recently announced increased hydropower-sourced energy (by 5.6 per cent), beyond its 581-Megawatt hour (MWh) monthly targets. This, added to the Lake Turkana Wind Power Power project potential and gains, as well as the increased appetite for solar power across sectors; and KenGen’s own geothermal source, Kenya is on the right track.

KenGen Solar Plant in Embu, [courtesy image]
Several homes in rural areas are slowly shifting from kerosene to solar-powered lighting, saving many from in-house pollution. A lot of firms across the sectors, including those in banking, communication and manufacturing sectors, have set aside funds for conservation activities as well as capacity building for environmental sustainability.

Conservation now dominates corporate social responsibility activities, with many going beyond tree planting for cameras. This means increased awareness on the crisis, which is key for Climate Action (Sustainable Development Goal 13). And we can do better.

Once, years ago, when politics surrounding the Mau Forest escalated, a politician trashed another’s earlier push for settlers’ exit from the natural resource, and sarcastically asked if rains really came from trees. The rally chanted in praise when he said rains “come from heaven”.

The politician may have knowingly misled the people, where euphoria overpowered reason, and no one asked a question. But this shows how critical political will, and opinion leaders are in climate action and why awareness on this matter must be made louder than irresponsible politicians.

Like the government did with HIV/Aids, and recently Covid-19, awareness on conservation, besides individual responsibility, must be emphasised and more resources allocated for the same.

This should extend to key legislators in Pan-African Parliament, East African Legislative Assembly, all ministries, and the national, as well as county assemblies to ensure decisions on tackling climate change are well informed. There is also need for tracking and reporting on achievements.

Truth is, this climate monster is here, and since the environment determines if we live or die in disasters, food production, manufacturing (raw materials), and national development must aim at reducing our carbon footprint.

First published by Lynet Otieno, the Quality Assurance Editor at Standard Group.