Bio-energy is the energy derived from various sources of solids, liquids and gaseous biomass, including fuel wood, charcoal, ethanol, bio-diesel and biogas. Biomass contribution to Kenya’s final energy demand is 70 per cent and provides for more than 90 per cent of rural household energy needs. The main sources of biomass for Kenya include charcoal, wood-fuel and agricultural waste. The Government has identified the existence of a substantial potential for power generation using forestry and agro-industry residues including bagasse. The total potential for cogeneration using sugarcane bagasse is 193MW. Mumias Sugar Company (Independent Power Producer) generates 35MW out of which 26MW is dispatched to the grid. However, opportunities within other sugar factories estimated to be up to 300 MW have not been exploited.
The FiT policy provides for biomass energy resource generated electricity with a firm power fixed tariff not exceeding US Cents 10 per Kilowatt-hour of electrical energy supplied in bulk to the grid operator at the interconnection point. Under this policy, 18MW cogeneration project for use of cane bagasse at the coastal region of Kenya has been approved.
Currently, biomass energy development is the focus of attention due to dwindling global resources of fossil fuels and rising prices. Their potential to mitigate climate change adds their attractiveness. Consumption stood at 1.4 and 3.3 million litres of petrol and automotive diesel respectively per day in 2006 with average growth rate of 2.8% per year. Projections indicate that Kenya will require 2.7 and 6.5 million litres of petrol and automotive diesel respectively per day by 2030. Currently, Kenya would require 77 million litres of ethanol per year for a national 10% (E10) blend at current consumption levels. This will need to grow to 148 million litres by 2030. A national B2 would require about 28 million litres of bio-diesel at current consumption levels and would be required to grow to 50 million litres by 2030.
Opportunities in production and processing of Jatropha and sweet sorghum into bio-fuel exist in Galana and other areas of the country such as Eastern, North-Eastern, Rift-Valley and Nyanza Provinces. In addition, consultancy opportunities exist in research work and capacity building in bio-technology and relate industrial potential for production of biofuel.