By Kevin Keitany
Lack of access to clean sources of energy is a major impediment to development in most counties across Kenya. For years, most households have been forced to rely on primitive energy sources associated with health complications.
Notably, the source of fuel for most households is dependent on socioeconomic status. Therefore, access to cleaner energy is reserved for households with high-income levels. A majority usually rely on primitive sources of fuel like firewood.
According to 2019 census statistics, 40% of residents in Kajiado county use electricity as their main source of lighting, a further 19% use lanterns, 36% use tin lamps and 2% use fuel wood. Electricity use is more common in male-headed households at 44% as compared with female-headed households at 32%.
Elsewhere, efforts by the county and national governments in recent years have resulted in increased households accessing electricity. Estimates by the county under the CDIP report indicate that by the end of 2022 about 67% will have access to electricity.
The push to access clean energy has compelled the county government to initiate several projects. For instance, residents of Ngong town will soon benefit from a solar energy project currently under construction.
The county-sponsored initiative aims to utilise sustainable and renewable green energy through the use of solar panels to generate electricity. Once completed, the project is anticipated to provide an alternative low-cost source of electricity and minimise disruption caused by power outages.
According to Ngong town Member of County Assembly (MCA), Robert Muoria, the installation of solar panels will play a critical role in the reduction of electricity consumption and consequently decrease the high cost of electricity bills which have a high levy.
KETRACO Managing Director, FCPA Fernandes Barasa said, the reliable power supply will translate into economic opportunities in the region such as the setting up of slaughterhouses and processing factories.
“Industries and factories will operate with minimum disruptions and Small and Medium Enterprises such as salons, welding, barber shops, and cyber cafes will sprout because of the reliable power we will transmit,” said FCPA Barasa.
The need to enhance the power supply in the county seeks to benefit residents who have recently ventured into large-scale irrigation farming. In this case, a reliable power supply will enhance food production thus going a long way in supporting the national government, Big 4 Agenda on food security.
Image: Kajiado county wind farm project. Source: Hapa Kenya
This story was produced by DOMUS MARIE FM in partnership with Code for Africa, Kenya Community Media Network and the Catholic Media Council with support from the German Cooperation as a part of the Our County Our Responsibility project.