One evening, as Calvince Okello -the creator of M-shamba - was watching the news at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology where he studied biomechanical and processing engineering, a particular feature left him at his wits end. The Eastern part of Kenya was suffering from severe famine while the Western part had registered a bumper harvest with maize even rotting on farms. This stark contrast of pockets plenty amidst areas of serious lack was enough to push Calvince to think of a solution. He attended a lecture the following day that would set M-shamba in motion.
Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) is the new buzz word for member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The member states are preparing for the 21st conference of parties meeting in Paris, France later this year. INDCs are proposed post-2020 climate actions that countries publicly declare to implement, in order to assist in limiting the earth’s temperature rise to 2 degrees centigrade. Kenya has once again proven to be a leader by becoming the fourth African state to publicly declare its INDCs.
GravityLight is an innovative off-grid light designed to eliminate dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps, used by over 1.3 billion people who don’t have access to electricity. The product is unique and has created a new category of lighting, which doesn’t have any batteries nor need the sun - all you need is a weight!
The efficiency of waste management is an important aspect of sustainablity - especially with the global amount of waste expected to dramatically increase over the coming decades. Mobile technology from IBM is being used for mapping and tracking waste collection, as well as reporting related data in real-time, in order to enhance related decision-making.
The construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) resonates of nothing but patriotism and deep commitment of Ethiopians towards achieving clean energy for their country. Since the inception of the dam in 2010, there have been a number of issues but the project is now moving ahead at full steam.
Adoption of biomass power generation technologies in Africa has been challenged by a variety of factors including high capital costs and lack of feedstock. However, with biomass contributing to only 5% of power production in the continent, these projects hold a promise to helping boost the much needed power in developing world. It is not only the largest biomass power plant in Africa, but Gorge Farm AD Plant in Kenya will be Africa's first anaerobic digester.
The Pew Charitable Trusts launched a report Power Shifts Emerging Clean Energy Markets in May, tracking the investment in renewable technology in developing countries. The report provides some great statistics on where investment is occurring, predicts future growth and examines in detail the top spending in the 10 leading developing countries, which includes Kenya.
The project is estimated to cost a whopping 582 million Euros and provide 300MW of low cost power to the national grid. The wind farm will occupy 40,000 acres of land in Loiyangalani district in north eastern Kenya stretching from 450m at the shores of Lake Turkana to 2,300m above sea level at the top of Mt Kulal. As a result of the daily temperature fluctuations, strong and predictable winds between the lake and the dessert are experienced with expected average speeds of 11 m per second.
The Rural Electrification Authority in Kenya has provided electricity to around 250 off-grid public schools from November 2014 to date, through solar photovoltaic systems. One school in Narok County – Ngaambani Primary, has not had electricity connectivity for the last 30 years. Through this initiative, the school’s performance has increased with more students able to study in the evenings after class hours and early mornings before regular class hours.
Mobilizing of support from private entities into renewable energy generation in Africa has always been a challenge as the investors shy away from spending on technologies and projects that guarantee uncertain returns. This has had a big impact on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are related to power/energy generation. The Lake Turkana Wind Power farm is one example of how this is changing.