What you need to know:
- Renewable energy improves air quality and public health by reducing harmful pollutants associated with fossil fuel combustion.
- Ultimately, embracing renewable energy sources in Kenya not only drives the transition to a greener and more sustainable future but also promotes economic growth, enhances energy security and protects the well-being of its citizens.
We rely heavily on energy to power our lives in our modern world. However, there's a problem lurking in our energy sources: fossil fuels. These traditional energy sources, such as coal and oil, have served us for centuries. Still, they come with significant drawbacks. Problems associated with fossil fuels continue to affect millions worldwide. They include:
1. Climate change crisis
Burning fossil fuels releases vast amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2). These gases trap heat and contribute to global warming, leading to today's climate change crisis. Extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and ecosystem disruptions are just a few of the consequences.
2. Air pollution and health impacts
Burning fossil fuels releases GHGs and emits harmful pollutants into the air. The combustion process generates toxic substances like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, contributing to air pollution. Breathing in these pollutants increases the risk of respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases and other health issues.
3. Finite and volatile resources
Fossil fuels are finite resources, meaning they exist in limited quantities. As we extract and consume them, their availability diminishes. This increases extraction efforts in environmentally sensitive areas, risking irreversible ecosystem damage. Moreover, the prices of fossil fuels are subject to volatile market fluctuations, affecting the stability of economies and energy security.
Renewable Energy as the Solution
Amidst these challenges, renewable energy emerges as the solution. Kenya is on the right path if the latest data from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) is anything to go by. EPRA reports that electricity available for distribution rose by 4.5 percent to 12,700 GWh in 2022, driven by a near 10 percent rise in geothermal and an 8 percent rise in wind.
Adapting to renewable energy will enable the country to combat climate change by reducing GHG emissions and mitigating its environmental impact. Secondly, renewable energy sources like solar and wind are abundant in Kenya, providing a reliable and sustainable energy supply that is not subject to the volatility of fossil fuel prices. This contributes to energy security and stability for the nation.
Additionally, adopting renewable energy creates economic opportunities, stimulates job growth and attracts investments in the renewable energy sector. It also improves energy access and affordability, particularly in rural areas, by decentralising energy generation and reducing reliance on centralised power grids.
Renewable energy improves air quality and public health by reducing harmful pollutants associated with fossil fuel combustion. Ultimately, embracing renewable energy sources in Kenya not only drives the transition to a greener and more sustainable future but also promotes economic growth, enhances energy security and protects the well-being of its citizens.