Aug 21, 2017

Access to Energy; Why does it matter?

Kenya is experiencing a major crisis in the electricity sector following a prolonged dry spell in the last ten months. This has led to a reduction in hydropower production by 40 per cent to lows of 176.3 MKW in June, this year from 356 MKW in October last year. The Energy Regulatory Commission Director General, has indicated the country is now dependent on geothermal and thermal energy, which has led to an increase of the cost of electricity as thermal energy is more expensive. The country is tapping into thermal energy to compensate for hydro generation.

Goal seven of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may hold the key to Kenya’s energy crisis. Energy is at the center of every global opportunity and challenges the world faces as it is becoming a basic need just like water, food, education and healthcare. Therefore, without urgent interventions, the energy crisis is set to get worse. Business should align their strategies with the SDGs.

The primary objective of SDG7 is to ensure affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Therefore, incorporation of SDG7 to various business strategies will improve the business operating environment at the same time impacting the society positively.

Investing in various financial products aimed at driving clean energy action for example green bonds  aimed at energy efficiency could be a way for companies to respond effectively to the energy challenges that Africa faces. Companies can also aim at sourcing 100% of energy from renewables, this sounds expensive but other world largest companies such as Unilever, Nestle, Philips, Proctor and Gamble have made a commitment. Businesses can also make investments in renewable energy such as Garden City, Williamson Tea, Strathmore University and Two Rivers Mall.

To ensure consistent achievement of the targets that are based on the SDG7, it will be fundamental for companies to incorporate the utilization of renewable energy options and energy efficiency in their company policies. The implementation of such policy by individual companies would mean the overall achievement would be an increase in the access to renewable and efficient energy for all. 

SDG7 is both a risk and an opportunity for business.  In this century, businesses should develop strategies for managing their own energy supplies and also for embracing efficient energy practices with an aim of to being more resilient to the current price fluctuations.

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