Making money out of nothing has been the dream of many people for hundreds of years. Back in medieval Europe, alchemists worked tirelessly to turn lead into gold and become rich in the easiest way. Needless to say, they didn’t succeed. It turns out that in order to become rich, one needs indeed to work hard. There are no magic shortcuts.
Or that’s what we thought. In recent years, renewable energy is maybe the closest we can get to making money from thin air. Renewables are based, after all, on natural resources which are generally free of cost, and available to all, such as wind or sunlight. All one needs to profit from them is the determination to maximise its utility. In contrast to the alchemist trickeries of old, profits from renewable energy are based on solid foundations, rather than bogus science.
One of the State’s most important duties towards its citizens is to provide them with the highest level of general welfare. This includes laying the groundwork for prosperity and development of the society as a whole, and of every individual as well. Thus, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government is focusing on infrastructure, in such various fields as transport, healthcare, agriculture and more.
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But one of the issues closest to Uhuru’s heart and mind is renewable energy. It is easy to understand why: Energy production is one of the industries which has the biggest CO2 footprint, all over the world.
Global climate change is caused by the enormous amount of carbon dioxide humans and their industries emit on every continent. Yet, it is our continent, Africa, which is hardest hit by climate change.
We can already observe an uptick in natural disasters, such as prolonged arid periods, strong, sudden rainfall which causes flooding, and plagues of locusts which threaten our food security.
Certainly, this is not fair. Our part in carbon dioxide pollution is tiny in comparison to dirty, fully industrialised nations like China or Germany. But this is the world we live in, and we have no other alternative to flee to.
Back in 2018, Uhuru gave us a clear promise at the Paris Peace Forum in France: Kenya will create all of its energy from green sources by 2020. No ifs and buts, just a straightforward statement which he swiftly translated into a plan of action. And today, we can already see more and more results all over the country.
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Of course, this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following Uhuru’s actions in this field since he was first elected in 2013. In his first term, he oversaw the addition of an astonishing 1.063 megawatts of green electricity to the power grid. Since then, experts all over the world are calling Kenya one of the global powerhouses for geothermal power creation.
Yet, betting all your money on one horse is never a good idea. And indeed, geothermal energy is not enough to feed our ever-growing hunger for electricity. Thus, we need to add other means of energy production to Kenya’s green energy mix.
That’s why Uhuru adjusted his focus to incorporate solar energy, which is a perfect solution for much of the rural population. If used smartly, solar energy can provide a decentralised web of small energy production centres, which work efficiently in all the villages where electricity is needed.
In order to make this affordable for citizens across the country, Uhuru turned to the World Bank. They immediately saw the immense benefits of Uhuru’s cunning plan and agreed to fund a solar electrification project to the tune of a whopping Sh15 billion.
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The other numbers are astonishing as well: 250.000 households across 14 counties will profit, while 800 public facilities will also be connected. A true energy revolution.
In this, Uhuru has proven, once again, that he is a man of his word. He may not be an alchemist – but he knows how to make electricity out of thin air, which might soon be more valuable than gold.
– The writer is a legal scholar
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EnergyClean EnergyUhuru KenyattaRenewable Energy