PISCES Policy Brief No. 1. Policies and Regulations Affecting Biofuel Development in Kenya.
The growing increase in international oil prices and the push towards cleaner energy sources has created an urgent need to shift from high-cost fossil oil to cost-effective biofuel. Currently, there are several biofuel, and particularly biodiesel, activities on the ground, with NGOs such as Green Africa Foundation and Vanilla Development Foundation leading the way. However, the development of biofuel in Kenya is currently hampered by lack of policy frameworks. The Government of Kenya (GoK) has made several initiatives to address this gap. For example, the GoK Sessional Paper No. 4 of 2004 on Energy seeks to encourage wider adoption of renewable energy technologies. The Energy Act of 2006 mandates the government to pursue and facilitate the production of biofuels. Though the government is yet to adopt a biofuels policy in response to its mandate under the Energy Act, an initiative has been taken to develop a comprehensive biodiesel strategy. The Ministry has constituted a National Biofuels Committee which is currently addressing biodiesel issues. The membership of the National Biofuels Committee includes public sector, private sector and non-governmental organization participants in the energy value chain. The committee has produced a draft biodiesel strategy which is now awaiting cabinet approval. No similar efforts have begun regarding the bioethanol industry. Though there are some initiatives being undertaken by the government to develop a policy framework for biofuel development, much remains to be done to develop regulations and standards that will promote and regulate the biofuel industry in Kenya. The biofuel industry cuts across several sectors that are governed by different policies, all of which need to be harmonized to speed up the industry in the light of sky-rocketing fossil fuel prices.