Kenya joins the globe in earth hour celebrations
On 29th March 2014, Sarova Hotels Kenya will switch off non-essential lights in all their establishments as a symbol towards turning awareness into action, for planet earth. Sarova Panafric Hotel through a partnership with Barefoot Power will then power on renewable energy through over 100 solar lanterns placed through out the hotel as a way of conveying the message of sustainability in Kenya, Africa and the world when it comes to energy.
Kenya discovered oil in 2012 raising hopes that energy would be made available to more Kenyans through newfound oil wealth. According to Fredrick Kwame, despite the discovery of oil, critical questions remain as to whether Kenya should develop its recently discovered oil and gas resources.
“Kenya should develop its recently discovered oil and gas resources but this should be done under the highest level of responsibility and transparency with a condition that the country invest in a form of sovereign and or legacy fund to develop renewable sources of energy in the mid and also long term. By 2020, it is possible for Kenya to be a largely renewable energy dependent country. This can only happen if Kenyans and their leaders invest time and resources in tilting the scale toward renewable energy,” said Mr. Kwame.
According to the World Bank, some 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are facing a crisis evidenced by rolling blackouts. In addition, 24% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity versus 40% in other low-income countries. Excluding South Africa, the entire installed generation capacity of sub-Saharan Africa is only 28 Gigawatts, equivalent to that of Argentina.
Although Kenya is well endowed both with recently discovered fossil fuels and renewable resources, only 35% of the Kenya population is connected to the national electricity grid. In addition, 68% of Kenyans rely on biomass to meet their energy needs in the form of wood fuel, charcoal and kerosene for lighting. This poses a threat to the health of over half of the population and is also a great threat to the environment in the country.
According to WWF Africa Director Frederick Kwame, these statistics represent what is ongoing in most of the countries in Africa and should move all of us into sustained action to safeguard what is left in our planet.
“These statistics should move all of us into action. Countries like China and France are reeling from the effects of pollution due to bad choices made in regard to energy provision for their citizens. Kenya and indeed all of Africa should borrow a leaf and embrace renewable and sustainable energy sources while we still have the opportunity to,” said the Director.
In addition, Frederick Kwame also notes that Earth Hour provides a good platform to begin making a difference at the grass root level. The impetus of Earth Hour this year is to turn awareness into action, beyond the hour and encouraging people to honour the earth through their everyday choices.
“Earth Hour affords each and every one of us, regardless of race, colour or creed, the opportunity to make a difference where we are, for the planet, for sustainability and for the present and future generations to come. We only have one planet and there is no replacement for it. We must embrace renewable and sustainable sources of energy while we still have the opportunity to,” noted the Director.
By John Kabubu, WWF Coastal East Africa Initiative Communications