Nairobi can generate energy from its garbage By Clifford Akumu

Nairobi County is sitting on 200 megawatts of untapped clean energy from garbage that it could plug the unabatedly high energy deficit, according to experts. They say energy from garbage can lead to significant economic transformation as envisaged in vision 2030.

“Clean renewable energy from garbage will meet the basic electricity needs of city households and act as a pedestal to the 24-hour economy of the county,” said Evans Ondieki, from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.

Africa is struggling out of energy poverty with 621million people lacking access to grid energy, and 713 million lacking access to clean energy. Dr. Cosmas Ochieng Obote, director African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) said that cheap clean energy intervention would spearhead adaptation to climate change and sustainable development in the county.

“We have sufficient resources to meet the county’s energy needs, they are just untapped,” said Dr Obote. Like other cities in the world, solid waste management is an expensive venture gobbling up to 30 to 50 percent of revenues.

This is unsustainable according to experts and Kenyan cities and towns end up with endless heaps of garbage that become a health risk. According to a recent survey by UNEP, Nairobi which has a population of 4 million people generates 3,200 tons of waste daily. Only 850 tons reach Dandora dumpsite while the rest remain unaccounted for.

Ondieki challenged county governments to spearhead clean energy uptake stating that Kenya had ‘the best regulations and framework on energy that creates a fertile ground for clean energy access in counties’.

Nairobi Governor, Evans Kidero had mooted the idea of tapping energy from the Dandora dump site to generate power. In an earlier report, Kidero indicated that the organic waste will be used in manufacturing fertilizer.

“We are devising ways of producing energy from waste while recycling plastics,” he was quoted saying. The Kenyan government estimates that the 2013 -2017 National Climate Change Action Plan for climate adaptation and mitigation will require a substantial investment of about US$ 12.76 billion.

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