Environment watchdog urges State to rethink coal, nuclear energy plan

Nuclear power plants: Kenya plans to build a series of nuclear power plants from 2023. PHOTO | AFP 

By FAROUK MWABEGE, fmwabege@ke.nationmedia.com
Posted  Thursday, December 8   2016 at  14:18

A global environmental lobby has asked the government to reconsider using coal and nuclear sources as alternatives for powering Kenya's growing energy demand.

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The appeal comes as the country is at an important crossroad as it makes decisions on its transition to a low carbon development economy amid increasing demand from infrastructure projects such as the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset), the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and other projects.

Speaking during a forum on sustainable energy and marine fisheries Thursday, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) regional sustainable investment manager, Jackson Kiplagat, said the two sources of energy should be the last priority.

“On the context of expert advice we should have an energy mix that supports the country and the best solution is geothermal, hydro, solar and wind,” he said.

Mr Kiplagat said many developed countries have invested in that direction and that some of the biggest buildings like the UN complex in Bourne are actually sufficiently powered by solar.

“Bringing in coal and nuclear in this equation provides the biggest challenge and also flies in the face of our ambition as a low carbon development country,” he added.

Mr Kiplagat also questioned Kenya’s readiness to even consider nuclear sources of energy, saying many countries are divesting from it due to possible risks in case of accidents.

However, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has previously said that Kenya needs a long-term strategy to diversify from the traditional hydro and geothermal sources to ensure reliable energy supply in the future.

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