First Cheap, Then Green

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Sometimes, a government is faced with a crisis of loyalty, often it has to do with national interests vs individual interests when it is in public service, or sovereignty vs international justice as has been the case in Kenya in the recent past. One of the less politicized obligation has been the almost silent by nations globally to cut greenhouse gases and improve the percentage of energy generated from renewable means. Those of us in the industry know quite clearly that Cheap renewable energy is as much an oxymoron as clean fossil energy; hence the question, should we as Kenya invest in first affording cheap electricity to the masses then clean our act and “green” it later? or should we maintain our green credentials and continue serving people zero star meals at five star prices? Therein lies a question the minister and PS at MOE can mull over. To assist in this, I have presented a couple of questions to all and sundry.

Cost of a kilowatt:
If the government decided to focus on making electricity in Kenya the cheapest in the world, what would be the impact of that in terms of attracting investment? By how much of a margin would we lose potential (and current) investment if our electricity was not the cheapest yet we had 100% green energy). I draw my inspiration from china on this one..

Buggy structure:
Should electricity be a commodity sold for profit? or a service offered to the public like police protection and political representation. If a company is out to make profit on our primary input in the whole economy, how can we remain competitive?

Green, Really?
How not Green is hydroelectricity? and how much of the potential energy from rivers in Kenya have we not tapped? What is the carbon footprint of wind energy? how about Kenyan government invests in Ethiopian energy generation companies and imports cheap green electricity from the country?

Nuclear.
Is the drive for nuclear energy motivated by a need to diversify our sources to provide stable and reliable energy or a misguided sense of achievement relative to an African context.

Thermal.
There are rumors of coal and natural gas, there is a vast potential for biomass farming for energy, what are the possibilities of having these incorporated into the national production systems?

Policy:
What proportion of the energy policy is geared towards cheap energy? how much of the efforts on the ground are aimed at giving us energy that is affordable? or is all effort currently focused on energy at all cost, irrespective of price….

– Center for Renewable Alternatives –

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