by Ben Ochieng
The innovative technology, known as Ultra Low Head Micro Hydro Power (ULH-MHP) System, is different from the conventional hydro-power and can generate electricity from low-head water of less than three meters of the existing water supply, which have not been previously considered feasible for hydro power generation.
Under the framework of UN Industrial Development Organization’s (UNIDO) “Low Carbon Low Emission Clean Energy Technology Transfer” LCET program, the ULH-MHP project was developed in response to the interest and request expressed by Kenya to demonstrate an innovative low carbon technology for further dissemination in the country, and is the first to be launched in Africa.
UNIDO Representative to Kenya Emmanuel Kalenzi said the technology is the first step towards working with the people of Kenya and challenged academia to pick up the technology, replicate it and scale it upwards.
“We have brought the technology in order to bridge the knowledge gap, but not to solve the electricity deficit because the project is capable of generating only 30KW of electricity,” Kalenzi said during the launch in Kiuria village at the Mwea Rice Irrigation Scheme in central Kenya.
The environment friendly innovation technology can be plugged into a man-made water-way to generate power with minimal civil works involved, easing hazards to the environment and social surroundings while at the same time reducing major costs of installation.
The dual vertical turbine generators comprise of simple replaceable parts that can be easily assembled on site thereby making maintenance quite simple for any trained operator.
Kenya’s Industrialization Secretary Julius Korir said the project addresses two aspects of the 17 sustainable development goals: sustainable energy generation and development; and climate change.
“Similar projects will be put up in rural areas in other parts of the country where the energy produced will be distributed to communities around because it is an ideal option for off-grid services,” Korir said.
He said the goal of the project is to increase the access of electricity to the rural and semi-urban communities in Kenya by utilizing existing infrastructure in irrigation canals and other man-made water channels.
Kenya’s Environment Secretary Alice Kaudia said the community around will stop cutting down trees for fuel because they will have an alternative source of energy by way of electricity.
“Households will also see improved quality indoor environment due to reduction of emission from biomass combustion, which is a major source of indoor, as well as outdoor pollution,” Kaudia said.
She said among other reasons why Kenya was chosen to pioneer the project in Africa is the country’s resolute development climate change policy. Enditem