By Linda Manyala
The implementation of Energy Conservation Measures (ECM’s) as a means of improving energy efficiency in Kenya has been an uphill journey for most facilities due to the financial constraint and lack of resources limiting the ability to implement the recommendations provided in energy audit reports.
Eenovators Limited has been working to deliver a range of energy and water solutions through ESCO services and products for the Agri-food sector in Kenya in collaboration with GIZ (the German Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) in a project dubbed; ‘Building ESCO Models for Promotion of Food Security through Water and Energy Management with a Focus on Youth Empowerment’ under the Water and Energy for Food WE4F initiative.
The delivery of this project was enabled by the WESCO Model our adaptation of the ESCO-in-a-Box Model™ developed by Energypro Limited . It is a ‘tool kit’ that provides all the systems, processes and standardized templates necessary to deliver energy efficiency projects to SMEs in collaboration with other strategic partners including; Enso Impact Limited, Lifeskills Limited, and (Iepa) Institute Of Energy Proffessionals Africa
This project offered unique solutions in energy management from youth empowerment through training and certification, to water and energy audits, to developing energy efficiency projects for implementation of ECM’s in the agri-food sector leading to visible increase in productivity, food sustainability and reduction of GreenHouse Gas emissions.
Other problems addressed;
- Food insecurity
- High Energy Costs
- Water scarcity
- Lack of capacity
- Gender Inequality
- Climate change due to increased greenhouse gases
The initiative was driven by Cohort 1 of the Youth In Energy Empowerment Program (YEEP) launched on the 19th of January 2021; a Youth Innovation internship program run under Eenovators Limited with the agenda to equip young graduates in the energy profession aged between 21-30 with the essential skills and professional training required to not only position them for employment but to effect behavioral change within the energy industry.
Ten (10) young energy professionals were enrolled in the program as the first YEEP cohort. The YEEP Program was conducted into two phases. Phase 1 was executed within 3 months (February – April). This period was mainly marked by intense training and practical field work. The international certification of Energy Audit Technician (EAT) by the Institute of Energy Professionals Africa (IEPA) was the main technical syllabus for this cohort. Essential skills modules were offered by Lifeskills Ltd to equip the youth with personal development skills critical for their career growth and development.
On the 3rd of May 2021, the 2nd phase commenced with the placement of the trained youth in 10 facilities in the Agri-Food sector (with a focus on Tea, Horticulture and Cold storage) where they begun their 6 months industrial attachment. During this period, the 10 conducted energy and water audits, and installed smart meters that enabled real-time monitoring of energy and water consumption for the facilities.
These were all steps necessary to:-
- Develop and deliver zero to low cost energy and water efficiency projects through the WESCO Model,
- Oversee the formation and training of energy management committees in each of the facilities to ensure energy and water efficiency goes beyond the WE4F project cycle.
The 1st cohort graduated on 23rd October 2021 during the World Energy Day https://www.worldenergyday.net/ Annual Celebrations held at Protea Skyz Hotel in Kampala, Uganda. This is an annual convening that brings together energy professionals and experts from East Africa to discuss on energy trends and innovations in Africa and also recognize and award outstanding achievers within the Energy sector.
WED 21’ was a 3 day event with 23 speakers. The sponsors for the 2021 event were GIZ_WE4F, Ariya Finergy, Camco Clean Energy, Eenovators Ltd, Enso Impact, Energy Pro (Ep Connect Group) and our partner from Uganda UNREEEA.
The GIZ WE4F initiative were the funding partners in this project and also offered monitoring and evaluation framework, supporting a more inclusive, collaborative and responsive processes in the development of these innovations on behalf of the facilities.
Being a data-intensive undertaking, the WESCO Model enabled measurement of the energy performance before and after the application of the energy project and the development of investor ready projects.
The Eenvators Eagles Energy Management Platform https://eenovators.com/eagles-portal/ was also an instrumental tool for data collection, an analytics tool for Auditing, training and as a measurement and verification tool crucial in determining the magnitude of savings achieved from energy efficiency projects and to provide an end to end solution for the most crucial section of the WESCO model.
Virtual launch of YEEP Cohort 1 in January 2021
This program marked the beginning of a socially, environmentally and economically impactful intervention that will see the Youth in the region taking charge of energy transformation and embedding transferrable skills to further impact their communities and circles of influence.
Organizations involved in developing and implementing such programs and projects in Africa should be commended on driving the agenda of clean energy initiatives as a step towards the Global agenda of attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
The outpour of interest from other young graduates in Kenya and beyond our borders during the selection process was immense, though it was not possible to enroll all due to the lack of sufficient funding to support them during the training period. It is anticipated that a 2nd Cohort will soon be deployed across the East African region to ensure wider geographical inclusion of regional participants.
Youth empowerment programs are a necessary means to build capacity across different regions through training on both technical and essential skills, assessment and mentorship to ensure continued lifelong learning opportunities and to impact behavioral change within local communities.
This Youth In Energy Empowerment Program (YEEP) serves as the springboard for further youth empowerment programs across the region. Successes and achievements from the program will be documented for replication across Africa in the near future.
“The program has been a great boost to my career. My understanding of energy principles has improved and I am able to do industrial grade energy audits courtesy of the training received.
As a young person, I can now participate directly in mitigating climate change through implementation of efficiency and sustainability projects in the industry.
I plan to share the knowledge gained and lead the next African generation into being the change makers in the energy space in both the continent and the world at large.”- Gideon Omangi (YEEP Cohort 1 Trainee)
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Additional information about the Eagles Platform is available through https://portal.eenovators.com/
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