Globally, conversations around clean and sustainable sources of energy take place everyday amid growing concerns over the state of our planet with regard to climate change. Nations, industries and individuals are working towards lowering their carbon emissions not only to preserve the planet but also to save on energy costs through use of renewable sources of energy.

It is against this backdrop that Kenya Association of Manufacturers CEO, Phyllis Wakiaga officially opened the Sustainable Energy Expo promoting Energy Efficiency at the Safari Park Hotel this morning. The Expo is organized by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and the Ministry of Energy.

During her speech, she mentioned some of the ways in which KAM was committed to working with institutions and individuals who were keen on going green. Through its partnership with Africa Development Agency, KAM was able to start an initiative that offered green financing. The line of credit offered by the initiative has seen quite a number of institutions benefit from the program including Strathmore University which has a 0.6MV Solar PV unit making it the first carbon neutral university in Kenya. Other institutions that have benefited from the initiative are Lean Energy Solutions which is manufacturer of biomass fuels.

The other keynote speakers at the opening of the expo were KPLC Managing Director, Dr Ken Tarus. He gave insights on the state of energy production in Kenya. Currently, renewable energy contributes 80% of the sources of energy in Kenya, with geothermal energy contributing 43% and Hydro Electric Power contributing about 35%. A shift towards renewable energy sources lowers the cost of providing energy which eventually translates to a lower electricity bill to the final consumer as well as reduce power blackouts and overall provide better quality energy.

The PS for Energy, Joseph Njoroge was also at the event and highlighted that the government was on the same page in terms of supporting the efforts in moving towards a greener economy. This through the setting aside of Ksh. 360 Million towards energy conservation and efficiency.

The first day of the expo also allowed participants the opportunity to view some of the stands on display at the exhibition tent. Companies were able to showcase their renewable energy alternatives to those interested. One particular attention grabber was the fully electrical car by Knight Energy Solutions. The Nissan Leaf is able to travel up to 130KM when fully charged and has zero emission. The three charging options range from fast to slow to the option of using a solar panel.

Lean Energy Solutions also had a stand at the expo and their LeanBriq briquettes offer an efficient source of energy for companies that use steam boilers. The briquettes which are made of coffee husks are more efficient than normal wood fire. The use of briquette fire helps to reduce deforestation as well as lower carbon emissions by industries.

The afternoon session which focused on emerging technologies in sustainable energy introduced the audience to Voltage Optimization. Though not an entirely new concept, companies such as Sollatek have improved on it making more effective than current models.

Voltage Optimization is the process of regulating the power supply from the main grid so that homes and industries have more stable voltage supply therefore cutting down on energy consumption costs. It also helps to lengthen the lifespan of home appliances as they do not burn out due to power surges.