JKUAT’s SEED Project Empowers Rural Communities with Renewable Energy

Dr. Hiram Ndiritu (left) Interacts with Ms. Lara Knödler (center) from TUM SEED Center and Ms. Katharina Eichinger Research Associate at TUM SEED Center-Audi Global Impact Project

In the ongoing battle against climate change and the need for sustainable solutions, JKUAT (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology) is taking a proactive approach through its Sustainable Energies, Entrepreneurship, and Development (SEED) Project.

This joint initiative between JKUAT’s College of Engineering and Technology (COETEC) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, aims to combat global warming while empowering rural communities. The latest milestone achieved by the SEED Project is the installation of a 12Kwp mini-grid in Olderkesi, Narok, providing renewable energy to over 500 residents and fostering entrepreneurial activities.

More than ever, the damaging consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels are apparent. Sustainable energy is emerging as a key solution, and JKUAT’s SEED Project is leading the charge by bringing renewable energy to underserved communities.

The mini-grid not only provides clean energy but also serves as a living lab, offering research opportunities for students to gain practical knowledge in clean energy generation, management, utilization, and storage.

Dr. Eng. Hiram Ndiritu, the Project Lead of JKUAT SEED and COETEC Principal, emphasizes the positive impact the mini-grid has had on the community. By addressing the energy needs of the residents, the project has ignited a surge in economic activities that rely on a consistent energy supply.

SEED Team poses for a photo with Ms. Lara Knödler and Ms. Katharina Eichinger

“This has created an environment conducive to both necessity-based and opportunity-driven entrepreneurship,” said Dr, Hiram.

Recognizing the potential for even greater impact, Ms. Lara Knödler from TUM SEED Center and Ms. Katharina Eichinger, Research Associate at TUM SEED Center/Audi Global Impact project, visited JKUAT on June 8, 2023.

Their objective was to explore future partnerships and leverage existing collaborations to strengthen research cooperation in renewable energy and entrepreneurship. Ms. Eichinger expressed her vision of utilizing existing technology to enhance education, empower individuals, and create a positive societal impact.

The duo believes, the partnership between JKUAT and TUM, through the SEED Project, exemplifies the transformative potential of renewable energy and entrepreneurship in rural communities.

“By providing access to sustainable energy sources and fostering entrepreneurship, these initiatives create a pathway for economic growth and improved livelihoods,” said Ms. Knödler.

JKUAT SEED Project Coordinating Officer, Mr. Dennis Koech, informed the meeting that the living lab aspect of the mini-grid opens doors for continuous research and innovation, paving the way for further advancements in clean energy technologies.

“By combining renewable energy solutions with entrepreneurship opportunities, this initiative not only improves the lives of individuals but also contributes to the overall well-being of the planet,” said Dr. Koech.

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