Biomass energy use in Kenya

Reports/papers (non-specific)
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Published: December 2010
Product code:G02985

This report forms part of a project aiming to develop a South-South-North partnership to reshape the impact of a predicted large-scale expansion in global biomass energy use towards greater poverty reduction and maintenance of ecosystem services in developing countries. The consortium of partners represents leading biomass energy researchers from multiple disciplines.

Biomass energy provides 68% of Kenya’s national energy requirements and it is expected to remain the main source of energy for the foreseeable future. Of Kenya’s total land area of 57.6 million hectares, only 6% (3,456,000) is forest cover and is estimated to be decreasing at the rate of 52,000 hectares (0.09%) per year.

Although biomass is a renewable resource, the high rate of its extraction and inefficient utilization renders it a non-renewable, a trend that needs to be reversed. The wider consequences of unsustainable extraction of biomass for energy include deforestation, land degradation, reduction in the ecological services of forests, woodlands and bushes, increased soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, loss of jobs, increased suffering especially for the women as they search for household energy, increased food insecurity as a result of limited biomass for cooking and diversion of household income to purchase woodfuel for energy.

Given the high contribution of woody biomass for energy, there is need to emphasize and deliberately invest in wood production specifically for energy and manufacture and marketing of efficient end-use technologies to ensure efficient utilization of the resource.