East African Agricultural Industries to Use Hydropower and Bioenergy

Two new renewable energy initiatives have been launched in the eastern and southern African agricultural sector. The tea and sugar industries will be the recipients of renewable energy technologies resulting in more than 70 megawatts (MW) of decentralized sustainable energy for the region.

The East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) will begin a four-year initiative to establish six small hydropower demonstration projects in at least four EATTA member countries generating a total of 10 MW. The sugar industry is also preparing to produce its own electricity and heat and is expected to result in the development of 60 MW of biomass cogeneration projects. Kenya, Ethiopia, Malawi, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania and Swaziland are the countries that stand to benefit from these projects.

Both initiatives were launched by Kenyan President H.E. Mwai Kibaki, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership and Prolnvest.

“With the rising cost of oil in the world market, there is need to develop alternative sources of energy,” said President Kibaki in his keynote speech read on his behalf by Vice President, H.E Moody Awori. The President further reiterated the contribution of the two projects to rural electrification. “In Africa, the status of rural electrification remains under 10 percent. The small hydropower and cogeneration facilities, when installed, fit perfectly and would contribute to the rural electrification requirements of our region.”

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