The East African Region has a very high potential of utilizing coal energy as an indigenous and supplementary source of energy. Countries in the East African region have been reported to have large coal deposits with Tanzania have approximately 5 billion tonnes.
Kenya on the other hand since the discovery of oil deposit in the northern part plans have been put in place to develop 1 billion oil barrels. While all the plans are running smoothly little or no indication is being shown of local refining, instead the possibility of exportation is very likely.
Kenya’s focus has really shifted to the oil in Turkana forgetting to explore the coal energy deposits in Kitui and instead focusing on some coal fields in at the coast.
Kenya mainly looks at coal energy as an input in power generation instead of seeing it as source of low cost energy that will boost industrialization in the country by reducing the cost of production of goods. The presence of a low-cost energy source will see establishment of more domestic industries that will bump up the economy.
Heavy industries require a massive amount of calories in terms of heating energy and only require the electric energy to run the machinery. This translates to the need for the companies to find alternative and cheaper sources of heating energy for the heating processes. This explains the increased number of industries using imported coal energy and biomass energy for heating.
In line with Kenya’s Vision 2030 goals is to pump an addition 5000 MW into the Kenyan power grid, this pretty much takes care of the electric energy which leaves the heating energy more or less scantly taken care off. It is quite unfortunate for the responsible ministries to leave out the intense coal exploration as a heating energy source.
Environmentalists may not be pleased with this approach as coal energy mining has adverse environmental effects but technology has brought clean coal technologies. They are technologies embedded in the coal plants to reduce pollutant remittances to the globally acceptable standards.
Kenya has in the recent past adopted increased use of renewable energies like geothermal, wind solar and hydro energy that has reduced the carbon emission levels into the atmosphere. These renewable energies together with energy efficiency programmes will play a major role in offsetting any increased carbon emission caused by the coal mining.
The Kenyan government in its quest to reduce the cost of manufacturing and increasing number of domestic industries should adopt and adequately fund coal energy mining. Proper commercialization of the energy will see a boost in the country’s GDP in the long run.