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College dares to dream with ambitious clean energy plan

 Eric Mafunga a Technical trainer Electrical and Electronic Department at Bungoma National Polytechnic takes students through a clean energy course. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The Bungoma National Polytechnic has started a new energy initiative to preserve the environment, cut costs and transform the community by supplying energy to neighbouring homes in the future. 

The Principal of the institution Dr Rosebella Chukwu said the use of clean energy had helped the institution to significantly cut down on electricity costs and deal with regular power shortages. 

No carbon

“One sure deal with solar is that our over 7,000 students have been relying on it to heat water for bathing in school and we also use it to light the security flood lights. Initially, this was challenging as the power was sometimes interrupted,” she said. 

“I particularly love it as the solar panels you see across the school were fitted with students taking clean energy-related courses in the polytechnic just to show that we can play a role in mitigating the climate crisis by using affordable and clean energy,” she adds.

Solar clean energy that does not emit carbon into the atmosphere is also at the centre of pumping water for domestic use at the institution situated in the heart of Kanduyi constituency.

Climate crisis

“We have an ambitious plan after being elevated to a national polytechnic to work towards producing extra clean energy so that we can share it with the local community to help in lighting and cooking,” said Dr Chukwu. 

Eric Mafunga Technical trainer Electrical and Electronic department said they have about 555 acres of land to set up a solar farm should the administration venture into supplying neighbouring homes and establishments with clean power. 

He said they were focused on mitigating against the climate crisis and one sure measure was through expanding their ambitious clean energy project to serve the community. 

“One sweet thing about clean energy is that it is not complex to generate and is easy to fix and supply. The project in our institute was done by our students under our supervision and has gone a long way in saving our power costs and keeping the environment clean,” he said. 

He added that the polytechnic prioritised imparting skills and knowledge needed for a transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient economies and societies. 

Green skills

Juma Rashid and Rebecca Mula, some of the students taking electrical courses were instrumental in fixing the solar panels in the college and are eager to help in setting up a solar field to supply the neighbouring community. 

“We are eying the mega project and are ready to do the technical bits that we have been taught in class so that society benefits from clean energy,” said Rashid. 

Mershack Opwora the Director of TVETs lauded the institution for the approach saying clean energy was the way to go in saving energy and averting mitigating the negative effects attributed to climate change. 

Small steps

“I am happy how this institution is walking in the footsteps of mainstreaming ‘green skills’ that are essentially a directive of all TVETs in the country.

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in TVET institutions is part of our curriculum that provides a systematic process of planning, implementing, and monitoring progress in ESD in TVET at the institutional level in incremental steps,” he said. 

“The role of TVET is vital in reorienting society to adopt a mindset of a low-carbon economy, which is essential to address climate change. Therefore, it is envisaged to increase the uptake of climate change mitigation and adaptation actions in the TVET sector as Bungoma Polytechnic is doing.”

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