Dr. Jay Taneja is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and the director of the STIMA Lab (Systems Towards Infrastructure Measurement and Analytics) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Taneja is a world-class expert on the clean energy economy of Kenya, which is our topic for today's discussion.
Kenya's story is fascinating from a clean energy and climate change perspective. The country has made remarkable progress in expanding electricity access, with renewable sources providing the majority of its electricity supply. In 1990, only one million Kenyans had access to electricity. However, in the past few decades, Kenya has made impressive strides, doubling access to electricity from 30% of households in 2013 to approximately 75% in 2022.
Despite being the least responsible from a cumulative emissions perspective, the African continent is likely to be the most impacted by climate change. Currently, the Horn of Africa, where Kenya is located, is experiencing a multi-year drought. Tune in to learn more about Kenya's clean energy economy, its impressive transition, and some hurdles ahead. Enjoy the show!
In this episode, we cover:
[2:46] Jay's background and expertise
[7:35] His work at the STIMA Lab at UMass
[12:39] An overview of life and electricity usage in urban vs rural communities throughout Kenya
[20:46] Challenges with solar home systems and accessibility
[23:57] Kenya's new president and his sentiments toward clean energy
[27:20] The realized impacts of climate change throughout the country
[30:38] Geothermal expansion in Kenya
[35:12] The balance of nationalized priority and commercial capital in driving the region's clean energy transition
[38:24] Kenya's blueprint and lessons for other countries
[40:07] How Kenya could leverage COP27's Loss and Damage Fund for vulnerable countries
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Episode recorded on March 31, 2023.