Kenyan Green Revolution.

Dear Friends.

Let me begin by adding my voice to a growing chorus of voices stating Kenya is in a crisis. I do so reluctantly not because I doubt there is a crisis but because I don’t believe in dwelling on whining but prefer to ask what shall we do? As human beings all of us have faced various crisis situations. Now when you are faced with a crisis you may dwell on how stupid you were to have let the crisis hit you. You may analyse how you got into it or even vociferously blame those who got you into the crisis, but eventually you have to face it and come up with solutions.

We all know the world is undergoing a financial crisis. Some have blamed all manner of people and institutions as having been responsible. Many have done forensic studies of how the financial crisis arose and who caused it, but the world has moved on. People have made decisions to introduce stimulus packages and bailed out banks and other financial institutions. Now some have argued that was not the best way to solve the crisis but in the absence of an alternative idea then I think it is better to make a decision rather than let a problem fester.

So let us examine the situation in Kenya. True the situation is grave. The country is undergoing a power rationing schedule because the water that powers it’s hydroelectric dams is low due to an ongoing drought. The country is facing a water shortage due to the same reason and off-course there is a shortage of food due to the same drought. At the same time the destruction of forests is getting centre stage coverage. All Kenyans are aware of this problems. To add my voice to this would be repeating what everyone already knows and it would not be helpful.

The best that I can do and anyone else for that matter is to offer suggestions on how we can solve the problems that bedevil us. So let’s do that and get over the constant whining. Essentially to solve this crisis requires both short term measures and longer term measures. Let’s examine some factors that I believe would go along way towards achieving some fundamental change. This include but are not limited to;

  1. Land Reform.

  2. Energy.

  3. Environmental Conservation.

  4. Agricultural markets.

  5. Farming Methods & Facilitation. 

As a short term measure the government will have to allow unlimited food imports into the country. Though this measure is already in place I would suggest that some procedural and administrative measures be reconsidered. Here I would like to suggest to the government that they make all food imports tax exempt. Further to this they should remove all taxes that would go into the logistics and distribution of this food. For example all fuel that is used by trucks or aircraft transporting such food should also be tax exempt. This would ensure reduced costs for private companies and greatly improve the food logistics redistribution. However care should be exercised in ensuring any food imported is not contaminated and is of the right quality. The government should be lauded for mobilizing the disciplined forces to help in distributing food to needy areas.

Land Reform.

As part of a longer term measure land reform should be urgently undertaken. The cabinet has already approved a proposal to harmonize the current land laws into a land code that reduces all land law into only 3 acts. This land code proposes far reaching reforms in the management of land. Another area that would have far reaching impact would be the digitization of all land records and the creation of a digital map of all land in Kenya. This would allow anyone to check the status of a particular parcel of land by entering the LR209/00/000 no. You would instantly get a global position of the parcel and would be able to detect if it is part of a forest, road reserve or nature reserve. You would also immediately see the owner and the history of ownership and whether it is leasehold or freehold and how many years remain in it’s leasehold. This would greatly improve land transparency & eliminate the corruption that comes with land allocation. Off-course even further reforms are envisaged in the proposed constitutional reforms.

Energy. 

The Prime Minister has launched a Green Energy Facility which aims to increase energy generation by an extra 2000MW. This will be achieved by wind energy projects in Lake Turkana and Ngong, solar energy projects and geothermal. Energy is a capital intensive process and requires massive injections of financial resources. Given the unreliability of hydroelectric power due to the ongoing drought Kenya needs to have an energy mix that is diversified and reliable. Here the government should seriously consider nuclear & geothermal because they are the most reliable in terms of electricity generation. We should consider an energy mix that is as follows to mitigate the danger of unreliability.

  1. Wind power           20% 

  2. Solar Power           20%

  3. Geothermal            25%

  4. Hydroelectric         25%

  5. Nuclear                 10%

Such an energy mix would greatly increase reliability and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions ensuring that Kenya generates 100% green energy. It would also save us billions in oil imports which would increase our foreign exchange position and allow us to invest the forex in other areas.

Environmental Conservation.

The Mau forest saga has revealed the importance of conserving the environment. Though the political situation is that it has been greatly exaggerated to mean that the drought affecting the whole of Kenya and other parts of East Africa is somehow caused by Mau forest. The truth is that though there are many rivers and lakes directly affected by the destruction of the Mau forest the energy and water shortage in Nairobi is not necessarily caused by it. Nor is the drought in North Eastern province linked to Mau. Having said that environmental conservation is absolutely important. First the government needs to fully map out all our forests and ensure no excision or allocations of them occur under any circumstances. They need to be treated as national resources same as our game parks. Additionally more reforestation needs to be undertaken to bring the forest cover to at least 10% of land mass. irrigation

Agricultural Markets.

Kenya already has a functional agricultural commodities exchange known as KACE. Whereas this organization is up and running more needs to be done to attract investors and farmers to increase the turnover and production within this and the entire agricultural sector in Kenya. With the recent arrival of the fibre-optic cables and the enormous interest now being shown in digitization KACE can benefit immensely by digitizing it’s platform and using other platforms such as the cellphone. The recent unveiling of an sms service by Google, MTN and Grameen in Uganda could be useful to Kenyan farmers especially if it were incorporated by KACE. Offcourse further development of agricultural markets would strengthen the financial capability of farmers. The issue of middlemen also needs to be addressed to ensure farmers reap the maximum possible price for their produce. Finally there is need to encourage a shift in Kenyans eating habits to emphasize on traditional food crops and not imported corn or rice. Sorghum, millet, cassava, arrow roots and sweet potatoes offer good alternatives.

Farming Methods & Facilitation.

Finally Kenya has depended for along time on rain-fed agricultural production. The current drought demonstrates clearly the danger of over reliance on unpredictable weather patterns. The fact that the government has now fully realised this and has moved urgently to address this by reviving failed irrigation schemes is an indication that the current drought may actually be a blessing in disguise. This illustrates what I have always believed and that is every problem or misfortune presents us a chance to come up with a solution that could open even greater opportunities than the prevailing situation. In addition the establishment of a fertilizer plant could greatly reduce the costs associated with farming inputs. As an agricultural country Kenya should seriously consider the establishment of agro-processing industries to add value to our produce. Even more important the establishment of an agricultural inputs industry such the manufacture of tractors, irrigation pipes, pesticides, animal feed e.t.c. could go along way towards faster industrialization and self sufficiency in food and agricultural materials. Conclusion.

In conclusion the adoption of drip irrigation technology is important because it conserves valuable water resources which can then be used to extend the acreage under irrigation given our high temperatures. Israel could be very useful in this regard. It has always surprised me that Kenya can export vegetables yet we have a shortage of corn. With the right diets Kenyans could diversify their food away from corn and rice and go for the traditional food crops. Another good source of food is fish farming which has very high yields for a small piece of land. Malawi has shown that it is possible to transform from drought to exporter of food in just 4 years. Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa [AGRA] founded by Dr. Kofi Annan has also brought resources and much needed attention to Africa’s agriculture which is already recording some successes. The big debate right now is whether Africa should go with genetically modified foods [GM] or go the organic foods route. The USA is pushing for GM agriculture while the EU is pushing for organic food crops. Both methods are acknowledged to have real benefits. In my opinion Africa has room for both technologies to be implemented. Kenya has already allowed for the implementation of both technologies. My parting shot is that Kenya can do it and so can Africa.

Jellyfish.

 

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21 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    [...] See original here: Kenyan Green Revolution. « Jellyfishcoolman's Blog [...]

  2. 2

    ken said,

    You sound like a std five geography teacher pulling material as is from textbooks..in your case online…..talk to larger us ( not kids).

    • 3

      jellyfishcoolman said,

      Hi Ken.

      Welcome to my blog. I thank you for your comment no matter what it may say about my intellectual abilities. I realise I am not the smartest person in the room. Sure most information here is gathered from publicly available information online & otherwise. I have never laid claim to some unique or esoteric knowledge. I would like to talk to you at your level but then it’s practically impossible for a blogger to satisfy everyone’s needs given everyone is at a different level. If I was to publish only very technical information I may put off others not at that level. Anyway you are welcome to critique and suggest new ideas which would help us all. We are afterall interested in uplifting the lives of Kenyans not in demonstrating intellectual superiority.

  3. 4

    Karuoro said,

    Jellyfish,

    Excellent article highlighting alot of what needs to happen to change things for the better in Kenya (and Africa).

    We have great minds with great ideas all over the continent. Our problem is and has always been implementation.

    We have to figure out how to ensure that these (and other) brilliant ideas for our country/continent become reality rather than papers gathering dust on shelves as many of our parents’ ideas did.

    Our generations task therefore is to become a nation/continent of implementers. The plans and ideas are there. We just have to put them into practice.

    • 5

      jellyfishcoolman said,

      Hi Karuoro.

      Welcome to my humble blog. Thank you for your kind comments. I agree with you fully that our problem is implementation. If all the ideas encapsulated in government documents were implemented we would be a second world country if not first world. I hope our leaders will get beyond their shortterm politics and look at the real picture. I look forward to further contacts with you in finding life changing ideas for Kenyans.

  4. 9

    Richard said,

    I don’t believe I’m qualified to provide any advice on the other issues you raise except the one on energy.

    Don’t invest in Wind Power. It’s too expensive, inefficient and undependable. The only way it survives in Europe and North America is through heavy governmental subsidies. Something that Kenya doesn’t have. Electric customers will end up paying two to three times for it when compared to other forms of generation. I read recently where a Wind Farm at Lake Turkana will provide 300 MW installed at a cost of over $800 million USD. This is about twice the cost of similar size “farms” in the US. I hope the contract includes transmission lines for the several hundred miles back to Nairobi. The 300MW is installed. You’ll be lucky to average 75MW or a 25% load factor. Spain has spent Billions (Euros, Pounds, Dollars…you name it) on wind power but it only provides about 12% of grid demand. What keeps Spain electrically afloat is their heavy investment in Natural Gas Combined Cycle (CC) plants that they began to construct at the same time as their investment in wind power. Spanish law requires the distributor, Red Electrica, to pay the wind power generator, 90% over the prevailing rate for conventional power…and to purchase all the wind power produced. Germany, also with a considerable wind power wattage, has determined that 50% of the time their wind machines only provide 11% or less of the grid’s demand. Observe the variability and undependability of wind power at online sites for Red Electrica at: https://demanda.ree.es/generacion_acumulada.html Keep in mind that Spain has over 16,000 MW installed of wind power. Eolica is wind and Resto. Reg. Esp. is what they call Special Regime and includes Co-Generation and Solar Power. Then go here: https://demanda.ree.es/demanda.html to observe the generation curve for each type of power source for the day. Click on the color coded pie chart for each type. Note for Resto.Reg.Esp. that the “hump” is the daily solar power output. For a comparison look at the Ireland daily wind power output here: http://www.eirgrid.com/operations/systemperformancedata/windgeneration/
    Click through the Previous and Next Day choices to see the variability of the wind at one of the windiest countries on the planet. Ireland has about 1300MW wind power installed.

    Spain utilizes its Hydro power for Peaking loads and to fill in the gaps when the wind isn’t blowing. CC is used for load following and some base load. Nuclear is baseload only along with Co-Generation.

    If you looked at the Resto.Reg.Esp. and the hump you can see that solar is a good load follower up to mid-day. It’s not a waste (as I believe wind energy is) but it’s very expensive. Last year, Arizona State University conducted a study of the cost of various types of power sources and concluded that solar was approximately 3.5 to 4 times as expensive as either Nuclear or Coal. They didn’t compare it to wind power because wind power is not much of an option in the State of Arizona.

    If solar is chosen then go with thermal. Photovoltaic is very expensive and upsets the grid too easily when clouds go over. With solar thermal there is a thermal inertia that smoothes the rise or fall in output.

    In my opinion, there are three reasons why Spain has been able to incorporate so much wind power into their grid. 1) They have an abundant supply of Hydro power that can be dispatched with minutes, if not seconds, that can follow voltage changes caused by varying wind; 2) Their inclusion of CC plants (built about 24,000 MW since 2001) makes up for whatever Hydro can’t do and 3) They’ve installed one of the more sophisticated centralized grid control centers in the world that can control the outputs of their wind farms.

    Natural Gas costs can only increase in the future as every country, every utility, and their aunt, tries to comply with some green agenda. Coal of course is cheapest but it certainly will not meet any carbon reduction goals. Some engineers have called Wind Power simply a variation on Natural Gas Power in that most of the time the utility will utilize CCs, similar to what Spain uses their Hydro power for.

    My advice would be to go with as much Geothermal and Nuclear as you can get. Some of the newer reactors are designed for load following. Don’t spend vast amounts on wind or solar. Maybe the Europeans and North Americans can throw away money on expensive and inefficient sources but you can’t. Don’t try new schemes. Only go with the proven. Again, maybe China can afford to try new reactors and such, but you can’t. Go modular if you can and start small. If you need some load following or peaking don’t be afraid to install some CC plants. They might not be completely green but they’re better than oil or coal. And remember…while you’re agonizing over whether to buy that one CC plant because it produces a little CO2 the Chinese are constructing about one new coal plant a week!

    My allocation would be:

    25% Hydro (Use it only for load following and peaking)
    10% CC
    40% Nuclear
    25% Geothermal (or as much as you can get to replace Nuclear)

    Plus…Keep some of your old oil plants ready because the reactors are down about once a year or two for refueling. About 30 days.

    Good Luck!

    Richard
    Tucson, Arizona, USA

  5. 10

    Richard said,

    One more comment. I just came upon this blog and it addresses one of my concerns that I didn’t mention in my previous post…land area required for various alternative power sources.

    What Does Renewable Energy Look Like?
    POSTED BY CARRINGTON DILLON ON AUGUST – 3 – 2009

    http://www.cleanenergyinsight.org/energy-insights/what-does-renewable-energy-look-like/

    Cheers,

    Richard of Tucson

  6. 11

    jellyfishcoolman said,

    Hi Richard.

    Thank you for your very valuable comments. Apologies for the late reply. You raise pertinent issues. In response let me begin with where we agree. I fully agree that Geothermal & Nuclear energy are the most reliable sources of energy for Kenya. I am currently waging a very lonely battle in encouraging Kenyans to support nuclear energy. I know you agree with me that there are alot of misconceptions when it comes to nuclear. It usually elicits emotional responses which are based on ignorance, fear or hostility. Yet France a European country has shown that it is possible to operate nuclear safely and productively.

    Now to wind energy. In principle I agree that wind is not the most reliable of energy sources. I however believe that it can and does play an important role in producing clean green electricity. Wind has been a power source for many centuries with the Dutch having used it for many years. The current technological research in wind shows there is great potential from this source. In addition grid technology will ensure that it will continue to play an important role. In terms of the land ocupied by wind farms let me say that it may be misleading to say that the land used is too much. Why I say this, is because the land occupied by wind farms can still be used for farming or other activities because the actual tower of the windturbine occupies only a small land cross-section. The transmission lines would still be required for any other type of energy. In any case land is not the major impediment especially if the windfarms are located in deserts or offshore.

    The energy mix I suggested above is flexible. I agree with you that the greater % should be allocated to reliable forms such as geothermal or nuclear. Nevertheless it is also quite realistic to expect wind & solar to occupy upto 40%. I do agree that solar is still very expensive for Africa despite it’s major potential in this region. Finally allow me to present some links that may shed further light on this issue.

    http://transnational-renewables.org/Gregor_Czisch/projekte/LowCostEuropElSup_revised_for_AKE_2006.pdf

    http://transnational-renewables.org/Gregor_Czisch/projekte/Risoe200305.pdf

  7. 12

    John Karanja said,

    Great stuff from Richard and Jellyfish. I am going to reblog this story on my blog.

    Also have you had that electricity is going wireless what do you think about this

    http://johnkaranja.com/2009/09/03/witricity-means-wireless-electricity-its-here/

    • 14

      Hi Richard and all others who have commented on Richard’s comments on Lake Turkana Wind Power and wind energy in general. The undersigned is the Chairman of Lake Turkana Wind Power Ltd. (LTWP) and I hereby wish to correct some of the obvious missconceptions and indeed wrong assumptions and comparisons that Richard has offered in his deliberations, but it is not entirely his fault as he is talking without having researched any details on LTWP and why this particular project cannot be compared with similar installations in Europe. His missconception is driven by his knowledge in European statistics on wind energy performance factors. He is indeed correct in his stement that the average “load factor” is 25%, where he is wrong however is that in the case of the LTWP project this Load Factor stands at 62%, this is why it is possible to offer kenya a tariff which is the lowest wind power tariff in the world. This tariff (Euro Cents 7.52/Kwhr) is also far lower than the feed in tariff offered by Kenya for wind power (USD Cents 12/KWhr) this tariff is also the lowest power tariff in Kenya along with the geothermal power tariff. There are therefor no subsidies required at all (contrary to what happens in Europe). LTWP’s load factor is also the highest in the world beating the previous record which was held by a wind farm in New Zealand (I think of 48%). So the wind resources in Kenya are quite unique and extraordinary and it would be foolish not to make use of such a good and cheep energy resource (akin to oil reserves).
      Add to this that the tariff offered by LTWP will not increse over the tenure of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) which will be in force for 20 years.
      Hope this helps to better understand why LTWP is and should rightfully be a project Kenya should look forward to.
      Kind regards
      Carlo van Wageningen

  8. 15

    Richard said,

    Hi Jellyfishcoolman,

    I would have responded to your last entry but have been busy on other things. I’ve separated and repeat your entry and attempt to respond to each part below:

    In principle I agree that wind is not the most reliable of energy sources. I however believe that it can and does play an important role in producing clean green electricity.

    R….Kenya can’t afford to be producing “clean green electricity” if it cost more than other, more conventional power sources. I worked for the government of an underdeveloped country for 3 years and I know there are major differences between these types of countries but they all have one thing in common…they don’t have much money! That $800 million USD for a windfarm could have been spent for Natural Gas CC plants, natural gas pipelines, electrical transmission to virgin areas with a lot more dependable energy. Let the Europeans and Americans throw their money away on expensive and inefficient power sources but Kenya should only be thinking about providing as much energy to their citizens as they can and let those that want to, and can afford to,….be green.

    Wind has been a power source for many centuries with the Dutch having used it for many years.

    R….The Dutch used it to pump water. Variability of the wind was of no concern. It wasn’t time dependant as wind power is today. Electricity cannot be economically stored in large quantities.

    The current technological research in wind shows there is great potential from this source.

    R….The wind’s energy is too diffuse to ever be economical. It might play a role but only because there are feed-in tariffs, Renewable Portfolio Standards, Production tax credits, low cost loan guarantees, Inventory Investment credits and out-right Grants to support it, from spend-thrift governments. The Spanish continue to lose billions on their wind investments. And show me one country in the world that has lowered its CO2 emissions since the turn of the century due to construction of wind and solar plants.

    In addition grid technology will ensure that it will continue to play an important role.

    R….Red Electrica, the Spanish system operator, has perhaps the most sophisticated grid control system in the world and yet they can only get an average of 23% capacity factor and 12% grid demand from 16,000 MW installed wind machines….after about 30-40 Billion USD. Kenya can’t afford that type of extravagance.

    In terms of the land ocupied by wind farms let me say that it may be misleading to say that the land used is too much. Why I say this, is because the land occupied by wind farms can still be used for farming or other activities because the actual tower of the windturbine occupies only a small land cross-section.

    R….Wind Power still makes an impressive environmental footprint. For the moment I’ll use the English system of measurement and then convert to metric at the end. Let’s assume that an average size nuclear plant of 1100 MW with a load capacity (or factor) of 90% (a new Westinghouse AP-1100) is constructed on 80 acres of land with cooling tower and everything else. This works out to 323 m2/MW produced. A 2 MW wind machine would need about 1 acre of land for the concrete pad (about 300 M3) and a stable pad for the crane to lift the 60-80 ton nacelle and rotor the 70-100 meters, or higher, to the top of the tower. Then the machines have to be separated. Usually one road will connect a dozen or more. This road is not a dirt track but must support the heavy construction equipment and the various parts of the wind machine. Looking through several reports of various wind farms I calculate that roughly one acre of road is necessary for a 2 MW installed wind machine. Taken together that’s 2 acres for 2 MWs or 1 acre/MW. However, using a capacity factor of 25%, this now becomes 4 acres/MW for real generated energy. This works out to 16,165 M2/MW or 50 times more per MW than nuclear.

    The transmission lines would still be required for any other type of energy.

    R….Long, high voltage, high wattage lines would not have to be contructed from a remote site, such as Lake Turkana to Nairobi if any other kind of plant were contructed NEAR Nairobi or other population centers.

    In any case land is not the major impediment especially if the windfarms are located in deserts or offshore.

    R….Many people who live in the desert, as I do, consider the value of its vistas and ecological systems just as highly as those who live in highly vegetated areas. Solar energy plants completely destroy the underlying ecology and wind farms generate their own environmental problems. When wind farms began to come into vogue at the end of the last century there was very little known about their detrimental environmental affects. Now, after years of experience and study it is clear that wind turbines kill birds and bats, emit a low frequency pulsing sound that seems to affect man and animals. However, what I find most disagreeable is the destruction to the vista. Perhaps you don’t mind so much what the machines look like in Kenya but here in the US, these farms are constructed in areas that in many cases are noted for their natural beauty. Along coast lines or along mountainous ridges their presence prevents the viewer from forgetting his urban environment from which he escaped (or for the reason the person lives there in the first place) for a few hours or days in order to enjoy something more pleasant and natural. I’ve read that when travelling by boat along the northern coast of Germany one is greeted with mile upon mile of wind turbines lining the coast. Very pleasant I’m sure.

    The energy mix I suggested above is flexible. I agree with you that the greater % should be allocated to reliable forms such as geothermal or nuclear. Nevertheless it is also quite realistic to expect wind & solar to occupy upto 40%. I do agree that solar is still very expensive for Africa despite it’s major potential in this region. Finally allow me to present some links that may shed further light on this issue.

    R….These studies pertain to Europe. They require a herculean expense of resources and are …theoretical. They are dated and I wonder if the experiences of Denmark, Germany and Spain over the past 6 or 7 years would have modified the results? Costs are now about double from what is listed.

    R….Using Google Earth..go to 45 35 09 N and 07 47 27 W to look at how windfarms are arranged in NW Spain. View it from about 5 km and scroll further south for more wind farms. The view was taken in 2003 and so I’m sure there are a lot more of those machines in the area now. One gets an idea as to the impact of the roads that are used to construct and service the machines.

    Cheers,

    Richard Hanson
    Tucson, Arizona

    • 16

      jellyfishcoolman said,

      Hi Richard.

      First let me inform you that the Lake Turkana Wind Project is a private consortium which has put it’s own money into the proposed 300MW wind project. Hence this means the govt or the tax payer is not involved & will not lose any money should the project not work. Talk of it being a white elephant does not arise because the ordinary Kenyan tax payer will not lose money. As an American I know you highly respect and honour the private investor.

      Now regarding beauty of the windturbines I don’t think gas power plants look any better especially if they will also be spewing huge plumes of CO2 mixed in with other pollutants. You also ignore the fact that natural gas is not universally available nor free. Kenya has recently indicated it’s willingness to sign a deal with Tanzania which has natural gas at Songo Songo. However this will involve the construction of a pipeline together with some refining and we will have to pay Tanzania for the cost of the gas. Nevertheless Kenya will invest in it because it is cleaner than coal or heavy fuel oil. Actually Kenya also has plans to build a US$ 700million clean coal plant though we don’t as yet have perfect technology on clean coal.

      Regarding the question of nuclear I fear the opposition may even come from America itself though they have so far not said anything publicly. There is also a question mark on availability of nuclear fuel. I personally however support nuclear energy if we can get the support we need. Our current thermal power plants are very expensive and are contributing to very expensive electricity. Infact our electricity is 4times more expensive than Egypt and is also the highest in East Africa. Importation of gas and crude oil is itself something that is very draining to our forex reserves.

      This is why wind and solar are very attractive to us. Even if we have to use up slightly more land it trumps the expense of spending billions importing, refining and building plants that will continue pollution. Your opposition to wind turbines on the basis they kill birds & bats, or that they are noisy I think is taking the argument too far. Gas plants are no less noisy or dangerous. So far geothermal continues to be the most promising source of indigenous energy that is reliable. However it also costs alot to prospect for it though that has also been addressed by the govt’s creation of a Geothermal power company which will subsidize the cost of putting up a power plant for private investors.

      I know that the debate regarding clean energy may not be supported by all but I think it makes alot of sense to at least try to invest in it. In the USA itself President Obama has shown tremendous interest in wind and other renewable energy sources. The Chinese are also investing billions. I don’t think this people who are doing this are ignorant of the science behind it. The fact that wind turbines are already generating electricity despite it being a relatively new industry is commendable. Technological advancements in nacelle construction are constantly improving meaning that with time more & more energy will come from wind. Recent developments in nano technology in the construction of solar panels is also promising because it will reduce the cost of solar power. For further info check out the following links.

      http://bit.ly/adNzI

      http://bit.ly/x7SLQ

      In case the shortened ones don’t work try these;

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/27/kenya-wind-farm

      http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/5677

  9. 17

    Richard said,

    Just a few comments. Yes, I’m aware that the Lake Turkana wind farm is a private enterprise, like most wind farms throughout the world. However, the cost of an inefficient energy source that requires a complementary conventional backup in order to maintain grid stability, will ultimately be reflected in an elevated energy rate charge that Kenyans will be required to pay. The fact that they now are charged 4x the rate of some of their neighbors probably explains why an unsubsidized commercial venture, such as the wind farm, can successfully compete against other sources of power.

    Just being an American does not guarantee an admiration for capitalism. There are many US citizens , including many in the current administration, that seem inclined toward a more socialistic form of government.

    Commercial electrical generation is an industrial process that should be confined to an area designated for such activities. We don’t put refineries or chemical plants (as ugly as they are) in residential or national parks for reasons beyond degradation of scenic beauty. That requirement should also pertain to wind and solar electrical plants. Solar thermal plants require not only large tracts of land for the collectors but also ancillary processes such cooling towers and generators that are common to other thermal electrical generating plants.

    There are things upon which I agree with President Obama, health care being one. However, I disagree very strongly with investment in so-called “alternative” energy as it simply is too expensive and DOESN’T WORK. What is more important for the citizens of Kenya, to make an expensive symbolic statement regarding “green” energy or to provide more citizens with an adequate supply of electricity?

    China plans on building 26 nuclear plants over the next 10 years. Their investment in wind power will be inconsequential compared to that and all the other coal facilities that are coming on line weekly. It is my opinion that they invest in these wind machines solely to reduce the criticism that they aren’t doing enough regarding global warming. Since they are flush with cash, they can afford the symbolism.

    No matter how many machines are installed, unless adequate backup is provided blackouts and brownouts will continue. I’ll just say it one final time, forget the wind and invest in your other natural resource, Geothermal . You don’t need any backup for that.

    It’s been an educational experience for me discussing this subject on your blog. I’ll maintain a watch on your blog and if anything else arises that I feel competent to discuss, I will. Keep up the good work.

    BTW, coincidently, I watched the film, “The Constant Gardener” a few weeks ago. Nairobi reminded me of some places I’ve worked in the past.

    Cheers,
    Richard

    • 18

      jellyfishcoolman said,

      Hi Richard.

      Let me end it diplomatically as well by saying I have also benefitted immensely from your contributions. I agree the chief argument should not be symbolism but providing electricity to our citizens. That is why I support the govt even when they say they will put up the coal plant though personally I don’t like the idea of coal power. I also support the gas project with Tanzania for other reasons in addition to power generation.

      As for your suggestion on Geothermal I am with you 100% and the govt has already made steps in that direction that are commendable. Indications show we have a potential to generate upto 7000MW from geothermal which is about 7 times our current requirements. We also still have some possibility to generate some additional hydropower and also some biomass potential with sugar residue and garbage.

      Finally I hope you will visit Kenya some day and even offer your technical expertise to some of our govt officials especially on the development of the gas plant in Rabai to process the Tanzanian gas. If you do try to sample our game parks, lakes & the great RiftValley which is the source of all that geothermal power. Once again thank you for your very valuable contributions I am sure alot of my readers have also learned alot from this exchange.

      Jellyfish.

  10. 19

    muaath alrawi said,

    dear sir
    im agriculture engineering from iraq
    i design new economic irrigatoin machine its use new method it save
    50% of water at lees then the ather method .
    and i have more idea abut inventions in different subjects
    what kind of help you can give to handing me to make my idea
    thank you

  11. 20

    January 10, 2012 @ 13:31

    Hi Richard and all others who have commented on Richard’s comments on Lake Turkana Wind Power and wind energy in general. The undersigned is the Chairman of Lake Turkana Wind Power Ltd. (LTWP) and I hereby wish to correct some of the obvious missconceptions and indeed wrong assumptions and comparisons that Richard has offered in his deliberations, but it is not entirely his fault as he is talking without having researched any details on LTWP and why this particular project cannot be compared with similar installations in Europe. His missconception is driven by his knowledge in European statistics on wind energy performance factors. He is indeed correct in his stement that the average “load factor” is 25%, where he is wrong however is that in the case of the LTWP project this Load Factor stands at 62%, this is why it is possible to offer kenya a tariff which is the lowest wind power tariff in the world. This tariff (Euro Cents 7.52/Kwhr) is also far lower than the feed in tariff offered by Kenya for wind power (USD Cents 12/KWhr) this tariff is also the lowest power tariff in Kenya along with the geothermal power tariff. There are therefor no subsidies required at all (contrary to what happens in Europe). LTWP’s load factor is also the highest in the world beating the previous record which was held by a wind farm in New Zealand (I think of 48%). So the wind resources in Kenya are quite unique and extraordinary and it would be foolish not to make use of such a good and cheep energy resource (akin to oil reserves).
    Add to this that the tariff offered by LTWP will not increse over the tenure of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) which will be in force for 20 years.
    Hope this helps to better understand why LTWP is and should rightfully be a project Kenya should look forward to.
    Kind regards
    Carlo van Wageningen

  12. 21

    benmulwa said,

    Jellyfish,

    I am appreciate this as a masterpiece, just saying it as it ought to be, while keeping it simple. Most importantly, your opinion that as Kenyans we need to outgrow lamenting and blaming, to offering our opinions on solutions, in whatever little way we can. That is what I do and preach everyday.

    Keep it up.


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