23 February 2005

Kenya: Minister Roots for Use of Solar Power

Nairobi — A policy on the use of solar energy will be drawn to ensure its potential is fully exploited.

The Government will also develop codes of practice to safeguard consumer interests, said Planning minister Peter Anyang' Nyong'o yesterday.

Solar energy use and market expansion was being encouraged to bolster development, said the minister, adding that the Government was working with the private sector and NGOs to provide incentives to solar energy users.

The Government, he said, was rooting for solar, hydrogen and wind power use because these were renewable energy sources.

He said solar energy use was cost-effective and environmentally friendly and would push the country closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Prof Nyong'o said the country was likely to save 150,000 tonnes of fuel worth Sh240 million if it turns to solar energy.

The remarks were in a speech read for him by assistant minister Simeon Lesrima when he opened the Asia/Africa seminar of Solar Cooker Leaders at Ufungamano House, Nairobi.

He said: "Use of solar cookers can amount to great economic savings as well as reducing the pressure on dwindling fuel wood supplies and contributing to the poverty reduction efforts."

The Government, he said, was working to stop deforestation and ensure environmental conservation was adapted.

He assured Kenyans the Government would develop advanced solar energy technologies for the local and export markets.

He regretted that the country's use of solar cooking was low.

Currently, there are 200,000 units of solar systems in use in the country and this is expected to shoot to 500,000 units.

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