Coal Energy as a Viable Economic Game Changer- Public Debate
Is Coal Power Generation Truly the Economic Game Changer Kenya has been waiting for?
This was the controversial topic that brought together policy makers, government agencies, civil society, academia, and other stakeholders to discuss and shape the policy agenda for clean and affordable energy in Kenya, hosted by Strathmore University Extractives Industry Centre (SEIC)
One of the key setbacks of the countrys economic development has been access to energy both at the household and industrial level. As of June 2015, about 47% of Kenyas population had access to electricity, a rise from previous years, but not at its best for a country that is greatly working towards spurring economic development, in line with Kenya Vision 2030 agenda.
Mohamed Ruwange Research Associate SEIC, gave a brief background of where Kenya is in line with possible use of coal energy. In his presentation, Ruwange pointed out the dire need of the country to adopt a power source system that will be sustainable. He added that Kenya needs to work on being energy sufficient to grant electricity access to more households today.
Discussing the viability of implementing Coal energy into the system, a panel that comprised of Eng. Joseph Nganga Director General, Energy Regulatory Commission; Dr. Jared Bosire Conservation Director, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Kenya; Mr. Ajay Somant Drilling and Exploration Contractor, Pass Africa Limited; Dr. Susan Gichuki and Mr. Mark Hopkins, led the forum stating pertinent issues that needed to be assessed while exploring this option.
Factors such as where Kenya stands on energy production, effects of renewable energy, global standing on green energy, cost implications of using renewable energy visa vi not using them, were tackled.
Passionate Lamu representatives discussed their community agenda, stating that implementing coal energy is at the forefront of these agendas.
The debate concluded with the majority believing coal energy is a viable source where the use of technology to improve the negatives of coal use are implemented. Needless to say, more knowledge on the use of this kind of energy should be addressed to provide practical information needed to make the final decision as a country. The debate also highlighted the need for Kenya to embrace such options, noting that some of the solutions available in our continent may very well be different from those in the west.