Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) is banking on School Green Initiative to reap big from its carbon credit projects.
In 2021, the power generator become the first corporate entity to receive clearance to sell an equivalent of 4.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions, which had been earned for close to 18 months.
This was after the finalization of the verification of the issuance of a cumulative 4,617,309 tons of Carbon Emissions (CO2e) to six KenGen projects, by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The firm has so far developed and registered Six Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Projects comprising of Olkaria II Geothermal expansion project and the redevelopment of Tana Hydro Power Station Project.
Others are the optimization of Kiambere Hydro Power Project, Olkaria IV Geothermal Project, Olkaria I Units 4 and 5 Geothermal Project and Ngong Windmills.
Even so, the company, through its foundation to has joined forces with other stakeholders to ensure environmental conservation is embraced by school-going children through the School Green Initiative.
Undertaken by the Kengen Foundation, the initiative that started in 2012 is targeting 1,00 schools in the seven Fork areas in a bid to encourage schools to participate in environmental activities by developing woodlots within their compounds for multiple benefits.
In an exclusive interview with the Star Newspaper, managing trustee of the KenGen Foundation, Anthony Ingecha said the schools not only benefit from the services and products the trees offer but also enable hundreds of thousands of school children to learn how to nurture trees and care for the environment.
"We are glad to be among the pioneers of the psyche increase forest cover and President William Ruto's agenda to plant at least 15 billion trees by 2032,'' Ingecha said.
He added that for the country to reduce greenhouse emissions, stop and reverse deforestation, and restore 5.1 million hectares of deforested and degraded landscapes, the youthful population must lead the way.
In addition to the tree planting efforts, the government has also launched a programme to distribute 1,000 tonnes of seeds to 18 seed centers across the country.
These seedlings will be grown on 10.6 million hectares of degraded forests and rangelands, with the goal of increasing Kenya's national tree cover beyond 30 per cent.
The initiative is expected to create 320,000 direct jobs in seedling production, tree planting and maintenance, and other related efforts.
The first phase, from now until 2027, will involve planting five billion trees, while the second phase, from 2027 to 2032, will focus on planting an additional 10 billion trees.
Kengen Plc, through its foundation, is targeting to plant at least 400,000 trees per year. At least 100 new schools join the firm's planting competition every year.
The GIC is set to expand to other counties where KenGen has operations, with tree-planting activities planned for Western Hydros, Olkaria, Mombasa and Turkana Counties.
Last year, the company scooped the Best Corporate Category (State Agency) in recognition of its exceptional performance during the Kenya Forest Service's inaugural Tree Growing and Forest Conservation award ceremony.
The firm has been at the forefront of reducing carbon gases by deliberately shifting its strategy to focus on the production of green energy.
Currently, more than 86 per cent of the energy produced by the company is from clean including hydro (826MW), geothermal (713MW), thermal (253MW) and wind (26MW).
Kenya is Africa's largest geothermal energy producer and is among the top 10 in the world. The country has an estimated potential of 10,000 MW of geothermal along the Rift Valley.
Additionally, KenGen and Better Globe Forestry are setting up an in-vitro laboratory for mukau and muveshi tree species near Kamburu Power Station.
The facility will enable the scientific propagation of thousands of Mukau seedlings which will be distributed to farmers in ASAL areas for agro-foresty and forestry plantations.
According to Ingecha, Kengen Foundation has inserted an environmental aspect into its annual scholarship programme.
"By extension, the journey to awarding scholarships is enriched through CSR projects such as tree planting, consistent donation of seedlings to embark on green initiative projects,'' Ingecha said.
Last year, it awarded 101 scholarships to secondary and university students as part of its Corporate Social Investment (CSI).
It also conducts award ceremonies under the Green Initiative Challenge (GIC) in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Kenya Forest Service and the National Environment Authority (NEMA).
According to Ingecha, special attention is paid to cooperation between the so-called "green teacher," the school's head teacher, and the board of management (BoM).
"This is crucial because the whole school has to participate, and experience has shown that such cooperation is the formula for success".