Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) together with petroleum sector stakeholders held a two-day conference in Nairobi under the theme ‘research and innovation for sustainable energy development’ focusing on quality energy and petroleum.
Major topics discussed in the workshop include, petroleum pricing in Kenya, essentiality of periodic electrical safety audit, guiding legal and regulatory issues and benefits of adopting Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
Speaking at a hotel in Nairobi, State Department for Energy Principal Secretary (PS), Major Gen (RTD) Gordon O. Kihalangwa stated that research and innovation are critical components for the growth and sustainable development in the energy sector.
He commended EPRA for collaborating with higher learning institutions as this boosts research and innovation, placing the energy sector in a good place.
“As we prioritise our matters, it is very important to ensure there is adequate funding of research at institutions of higher learning. The Energy Policy of 2018 which is in line with the vision 2030 identifies the number of areas where research is supposed to be undertaken and by whom to ensure we have clean and sustainable energy,” said Dr Kihalangwa.
Dr Kihalangwa further stated that research is a very important component of development which should not be ignored as it can slow down a country’s development.
According to the PS, when a country is fully connected, major affairs such as education, health and local enterprises evolve.
“Nationwide connectivity is close to 88 per cent and the government is making a lot of effort to ensure that even underserved counties which are close to 14 are benefitting from projects such as Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP) which has been allocated Sh360 billion to ensure connectivity, “Kihalangwa maintained.
Meanwhile, Dr Francis Xavier Ochieng, a research lecturer at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) recommended mainstream climate finance as part of resource mobilisation for renewable energy technology to address the existing gaps.
“Research based on contrarian energy mix for escalating climate resilience in Kenya using renewable sources of energy that was conducted by JKUAT in collaboration with Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC) found that liquefied petroleum gas was expensive and there was need to diversify sources of generating energy,” Ochieng revealed.
He added that discovering ways of tapping hydrogen locally would diversify sources of generating energy making power more affordable to every citizen.
By Wambui Muthoni and Moureen Wanjiru