Energy is at the heart of any economic development.
It powers industries, commercial enterprises, and households. As a country, our pursuit to transition from an economy supported by agriculture to one supported by the manufacturing sector is pegged on the availability of affordable and reliable energy.
In the past decade, the economy has experienced a rapid rise in energy costs that have had far-reaching effects.
This has resulted in higher costs of production in manufacturing and affected competitiveness regionally and globally, hampering growth. Yet, manufacturing is a key pillar in the government’s Big Four Agenda.
This is not a challenge that is reserved for the government, regulators and energy suppliers. All relevant stakeholders have to come together and implement lasting and sustainable solutions.
Most importantly, we have to look inwardly and improve our operations to ensure energy efficiency.
Efficiency means wasting less and making the most of the resources we have. This reduces the cost of production, eases pressure on the national electricity generation and gradually leads to reduced environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.
It also guarantees that although the demand for energy is high and will continue to grow as more companies set up in the country, we consume less energy and reduce carbon pollution.
We must also ask ourselves whether our staff are well informed, properly trained and equipped to manage energy.
Manufacturers must commit to promoting and supporting energy stewardship in their supply chains, including operation sites by focusing on saving energy, efficiency, and energy management.
The good news is that many manufacturers are now turning to energy-efficient technologies to cut production costs and increase their products’ competitiveness.
Last year, large businesses saved a total of Sh724 million following their adoption of energy-efficient measures.
The savings were made by 67 companies, mostly factories which installed energy-efficient technologies and promoted conservation practices.
Manufacturers should work towards improved energy efficiency, generate renewable energy and source for renewable or low-carbon energy in order to reduce carbon emission.
Manufacturers must aim to be leaders in environmental conservation and work towards achieving and maintaining environmental sustainability.
This calls for more public-private partnerships in order to deepen investments in clean energy sources such as solar, wind, biogas and thermal, as well as expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to encourage growth and protect the environment.
Considering that manufacturers are among the highest energy consumers, they have an obligation to prioritise energy efficiency by monitoring use of fuels.
They should also adopt clean energy technologies and infrastructure, and generate their own renewable energy using by-products from the manufacturing processes.