Tuesday, 09 July 2024 08:13

COUNTIES URGED TO LEVERAGE ON ENERGY: THE NEXT FRONTIER OF KENYA’S SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

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The energy sector is one of the key enablers of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Fourth Medium Term Plan (MTP IV) 2023-2027 themed: ‘Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda for Inclusive Growth’. MTP IV prioritizes development of energy resources and enhanced electricity accessibility in the Country.
In appreciation of the crucial role that County Governments play in energy planning, regulation and development, the Council of Governors (CoG), in collaboration with the Climate Compatible Growth (CCG) programme, UK Pact and Strathmore University convened the County Directors in charge of energy in Muranga County for a consultative workshop on: development of model instruments for resilient and inclusive county energy planning and energy regulation.
The 3-day forum, which began on 24th June 2024, brought together key stakeholders including the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), academia, private sector actors, NGOs and development partners. It sought to sensitize County Governments on the energy modelling tool, review the energy data governance frameworks, the energy act (2019) and the energy policy, identify current challenges experienced by Counties while developing County Energy Plans (CEPS), sensitize County Governments on gender equality, climate resilience and social inclusion in energy planning and, identify activities for the Special Interest Group (SIG) for county energy planning.
Making the official opening remarks, the CoG Director Committees Kizito Wangalwa highlighted the need to ensure alignment with the planning instruments provided for in the County Government Acts and planning frameworks, including the sectoral plans and County Integrated Development Plans (CIDPs), as they provide a basis for allocation of funds.
“Data driven decision making at both the county and national level is of utmost importance,” said Director Wangalwa, singling out the county statistics policy instrument as one of the key tools in energy planning.
The chair of the energy directors’ caucus Wilfred Baya on his part urged the county directors present to utilize the opportunity to exchange knowledge, learn from each other and share insights that can propel the energy sector to greater heights.
“A good number of counties have already developed detailed energy plans, integrating renewable energy solutions such as solarization projects into their CIDPs and setting the pace towards sustainable energy development,” he added emphasizing the need to prioritize energy development to maximize the sector’s full potential.
Key aspects highlighted during the forum include: overview of the energy sector at both the county and national level, particularly the Integrated National Energy Planning Committee (INEPC), proposed design for national – county modelling framework, data availability, identification of data sources, accessibility and usability of the model and, challenges experienced in the development and implementation of CEPS including lack of implementation of the energy plan, inadequate funding, delays in approval by county assembly and lack of a decentralized energy data management units in Counties.
While expressing their commitment to work in collaboration with County Governments to advance the energy sector, the Program Manager at Strathmore Research Centre Martin Mutembei, called upon all stakeholders to leverage on the existent opportunities to advance the sector. This also necessitates a holistic approach to incorporate the nexus between energy and other key aspects such as water, environment, climate change, agriculture and security among others.
Key resolutions arising from the meeting include: CoG in collaboration with other stakeholders to continue capacity building County Governments on energy functions including planning; convene a high level engagement between CoG and UK – Pact/CCG on the partnership with County Governments in the energy sector; engagement of the Ministry of Energy to convene a meeting between County Governments and energy agencies; involvement of sector experts in future meetings with County Governments and; collaboration with Local Universities to become centres of excellence on energy research and capacity building.

 

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