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Kenya taps into solid waste for energy

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 17 – A power plant that is expected to generate between 40 to 50 Megawatts (MW) from solid wastes will soon be developed within Nairobi.

Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike disclosed on Tuesday that the Nairobi City Council (NCC) would at the end of this month float a tender to invite private sector developers to generate power from the waste collected around the city.

“Despite the wrangles involving councillors and civic officers, this time there’s total commitment to get the project up and running. The project will provide revenues for the investors and it will make the city clean,” he said.

The plant would be connected to a boiler which would generate steam that will then be used to run the turbine generators, the PS explained.

Power producers who will undertake this project will be offered a tariff of Sh0.70 per kilowatt hour although the PS hinted that this could be reviewed.

“This is not cast in stone or mortar. We will look at the actual development costs and agree on an appropriate tariff,” he added.

Mr Nyoike said this development was part of the government’s plans to promote green energy around the country which would in turn help cushion Kenyans against the high fuel costs.

In October for example, customers paid Sh8.25 per kilowatt hour for the fuel cost charge component of the electricity bills. The customers will not get reprieve if the anticipated El Nino rains are not sufficient and oil prices continue to go up, the PS warned.

However, the government is trying to develop a road map that will see a mix of competitive generation accelerated in line with the country’s needs. A new policy will soon be passed that will require all new buildings to be fitted with solar hot water systems, Mr Nyoike said.

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Such laws coupled with the myriad of plans that have been earmarked to assist the country tap into the huge potential of renewable energy, are expected to propel Kenya into an economic growth path while at the same time enabling it to play its role in preserving the global environment.

All these issues are part of the agenda of the Green Electricity Conference that will bring together the public and private sector, energy, environmental and financial experts and is scheduled to take place in November 23 and 24.

The conference is co-sponsored by the French Development Agency (AFD) that has pledged to commit funds for the development of the electricity infrastructure which would go a long way in helping Kenya realise her development agenda, Vision 2030.

To further harness the renewable energy potential, AFD has proposed to set up a 30 million Euros Fund which can be accessed by investors in green energy.

This will complement the Sh580 million Green Energy Facility which was set up by the government to largely support the private sector initiatives.

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