The Importance of Energy Accreditation - KENAS
Kenya Accreditation Service (KENAS)
In the global economic sphere, energy is considered as one of the key driver of economic growth and development. More so in Kenya, the number of businesses and residents dependent on energy have doubled since the year 2007. As the energy demand grows, calls for more methods for harnessing, storing and sharing energy have been encouraged. Nonetheless, this has not shifted the attention from the need to ensure that all Kenyans have access to energy that is clean, and environmentally sustainable. This calls for accreditation of laboratories, inspection bodies and certification bodies to drive improvements and efficiency in the energy sector.
Significant opportunities exist for improving energy in all sectors of the Kenyan Economy with savings of up to 25 per cent being seen as possible and this would contribute positively to the environment hence negating the impacts of climate change that are envisaged. As one measure of mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the Government of Kenya has been spearheading promotion of development and use of alternative sources of energy by developing the National Climate change Response Strategy of 2010. Kenya is implementing an energy mix that greatly emphasizes carbon–neutral energy sources such as geothermal, wind, solar and renewable biomass. In addition, the country’s building codes are being reviewed to incorporate measures that will encourage climate–proofing and the construction of energy–efficient buildings, hence bringing in a requirement for credible conformity assessment activities.
Additionally, the Kenya Vision 2030 is a long-term development strategy, which aims to create a globally competitive and prosperous economy with a high quality of life. It envisages that Kenya will be transformed into a newly-industrializing, middle-income country providing high quality life to all Kenyans in a clean and secure environment. Simultaneously, the strategy aspires to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for Kenya by 2015. Infrastructure, including energy, is identified as one of the enablers of the envisaged socio-economic transformation of the economy with a vision to provide cost-effective, world class infrastructure facilities and services.
In keeping with the MDGs, Kenya is committed to reducing by half the number of people who lack access to modern energy services by 2015 and reducing by half the number of people living in poverty. Access to affordable energy is an essential prerequisite to achieving economic growth and poverty reduction in Kenya. The majority of people who rely on biomass for thermal energy and who lack access to electricity are in rural areas; specifically, those who cook with biomass or charcoal are almost universally women. The lack of access to affordable energy services -“energy poverty”- disproportionately affects women and girls due to their traditional roles, household responsibilities, and low socio-political status. The Government is expanding the access of electricity in rural areas through the rural electrification program covering both grid extension and off-grid systems.
As the National accreditation Body in Kenya, KENAS works with the other government institutions towards realizing the Kenya Vision 2030 as well as the MDGs through accreditation of conformity assessment bodies that support the energy sector. For instance under the calibration scheme we have accredited the Kenya Power calibration Laboratory. This is a landmark in provision of accreditation service and consumer protection considering Kenya Power’s strategic position as the only distributor of power in Kenya. Therefore KENAS supports this year’s World Accreditation Day theme ‘Accreditation: Delivering confidence in the provision of energy’.