September 16, 2022 - 5 minutes read

Renewable energy at the top of Kenya’s new government agenda

By Abigael Ndanu

During the inauguration of Kenya’s 5th president on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, in his speech, the incoming president said there was a great need for adaptation and mitigation measures to be put in place. This is because climate change is here, and its effects have caught up with us. 

Climate change has become a significant concern, and governments are coming together to find ways of mitigation and adaptation. The Conference of Parties (CoP) is one of the global forums nations utilise to discuss their climate agenda and action plans. It’s also an annual engagement session where decisions are made to meet goals for combating climate change. This year, Africa is privileged to host CoP 27, focusing on developing greater resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change. In particular, it will be a crucial component of helping to strengthen resilience and achieve Sustainable Development Goals. (SDGs) 

President William Ruto said that Africa has the opportunity to lead the world and the potential to transition to renewable energy. A transition that can be achieved by playing a lead role in reducing the cost of renewable energy technologies. 

“International partnerships and access to finances are essential to the transition to renewable energy. Kenya is transitioning to renewable energy and aims to achieve 100% clean energy by 2030,” Said President Ruto. 

As part of his government, climate change will be a central concern because there is an urgent need to take action against climate change by ending addiction to fossil fuels. 

Effects of Climate Change

Nations are experiencing water shortage due to exacerbating global warming causing water shortages and increasing the risk of agricultural droughts, which has affected crops, and ecological droughts increasing the vulnerability of ecosystems. Agriculture has been one of the major areas that the effects of climate change have hit because of changes in weather patterns, which puts global, regional, and local food security at risk.

Health risks are other key issues that stand to arise due to changes in temperature conditions. Warmer temperatures cause the pollen season to be longer and worsen air quality, resulting in more allergies and asthma attacks. Ground-level ozone, a major component of smog, which increases when temperatures warm, can also cause coughing, chest tightness or pain, decrease lung function and worsen asthma and other chronic lung diseases.

Other effects include increased heat, drought, and insect outbreaks. In turn, these changes have made wildfires more numerous and severe.

The shift to renewable energy

A shift to renewable energy will generate energy that produces no greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and reduces some types of air pollution. This is why we need to diversify our energy supply and reduce our dependence on imported fuels. 

The shift will help create economic development and jobs in manufacturing, installation, and much more. 

However, constraints stand in the way of this transition, which include financial resources. It is estimated that it would cost the US a hefty $7.8 trillion to create the infrastructure necessary for the switch to renewable energy.

What are the main challenges of energy transitions?

The main challenges of the energy transition in Africa include energy mix and grid flexibility requirements, EV (electric vehicle) charging infrastructure, resource location, and the high cost of the needed infrastructure. 

However, Africa has a strong supply of wind, sunshine, hydropower and even geothermal resources which gives it the potential for renewable energy deployment and investment. 

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