A closer look at energy consumption
In 2014 the Sustainable Energy for Food-Powering Agriculture Programme started working on energy audits with the Ethical Tea Partnership, Taylor’s of Harrogate, Mars Drinks and the Kenyan Tea Development Agency. This was the first time that total energy consumption in Kenya’s tea factories was analysed and it found that energy costs were enormous.
At the same time, Kenya started enforcing energy management regulations that require factories using more than 180,000 KWh to audit their energy consumption, adding legal obligations to good economic reasons to look into the energy saving potential.
Since then the Kenyan Tea Development Agency has established its own energy department and GIZ has helped to build up internal capacities, such as training of energy auditors and factory employees on carbon foot printing. The entire activity was financed by a Public Private Partnership (iEPW), i.e. 50% of the budget was provided by the private sector, indicating how serious business takes the energy issue.
In 2019, there was another iEPW to expand the work to all 69 factories of the Kenyan Tea Development Agency. This includes training but also replacing machine parts such as fans and dryers with more efficient technology, installing energy monitoring systems and considering how to switch to more climate-friendly and cost-effective renewable energy sources.
“The results are impressive, especially since the project’s expenses were low by all means. Most of our staff time was spent on compiling data and checking output.” says Lucie Pluschke, who is heading the project. “Now we’re in the fortunate position that we can explain well how we came to these results.”
“The measures that the project helped introducing can also be adopted in other countries and we are doing this already in Rwanda, Malawi, China, Sri Lanka and Indonesia,” adds Lucie.
Capacity building is another critical component of the project. It has resulted in substantial improvements in the various operational steps of the tea processing. In 2019, 200 mechanics, boiler operators and electricians of the Kenyan Tea Development Agency were trained on energy issues affecting tea processing in the factories. Moreover, selected managers participated in the study tours to other tea producing countries.