KTDA Factories Scoop Top Energy Management Prizes

Two Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) – managed factories have received top honours in the prestigious Energy Management Awards (EMA) Gala that was held on Friday 27 March 2015.

Olenguruone and Kanyenyaini Tea Factories scooped four awards in total in the hotly contested awards organized and hosted by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM). A total of 20 awards were up for grabs by the 68 organizations that participated in the awards, including KTDA.

The Energy Management Award (EMA) is an award aimed at encouraging a culture of energy efficiency and conservation. It is awarded to enterprises that have demonstrated adherence to best practices in energy efficiency and which have contributed to reduction of harmful emissions to the environment that arise out of generation and use of energy

Olenguruone Tea Factory, located in Nakuru County and nestled in lush fertile lands that are conducive for tea growing, garnered prizes in 3 categories: Fuel Saving medium size category (Winner); Electricity Saving medium category (Runner up) and the New Entrant category (Runners up).

The judges awarded the three prizes to Olenguruone on the strength of the factory’s good record keeping and use of automatically actuated steam control valves at the factory’s driers. The judges also cited the sustainable use of dry fire wood in the boilers as being a model for other factories. The establishment of an Energy Management Committee was recognized as a key factor in ensuring proper oversight on energy use and the resultant reduction in wastage.

Kanyenyaini Tea Factory, which lies to the west of the majestic Aberdare Ranges in Murang’a County, emerged Overall Winner in the medium-sized factory category. In settling for Kanyenyaini as winner, the judges cited the factory’s vibrant Working Energy Policy and presence of an Energy Management Committee as having contributed to the factory’s excellent performance at ensuring energy efficiency.

To reduce energy wastage, the factory uses recycled materials, tea wastes and sawdust to make briquettes that are used as alternative sources of energy for the boilers. The factory also ensures maximum utilization of natural drying methods when withering – a key stage in the tea manufacture process.

Kanyenyaini Tea Factory’s commitment to energy conservation was recently demonstrated when the factory underwent an energy audit by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), which adjudged the factory as being compliant in energy conservation.

Other measures that the factory has put in place to ensure energy saving compliance include Continuous training and education for internal personnel and suppliers of energy products on the need to use energy sustainably, and the setting up of specific targets for reducing energy consumption. The factory has been participating in the EMA since 2013 and was awarded a certificate for New Entrant (SME, Large) Award in 2014.

These wins are a clear demonstration of KTDA’s commitment in energy conservation, being a high net consumer of energy. Tea factories are energy-intensive operations that require constant monitoring to ensure minimum wastage of energy.

In order to manage the cost of electricity and reduce the cost of production, the Agency is currently engaged in a number of energy initiatives, the main being the up scaling of the wood fuel programme. This programme involves establishing tree nurseries in every factory where tens of millions of seedlings are grown and distributed to the factories and factory adjacent communities. KTDA factories have purchased about 14,000 acres of land for tree planting.

To further reduce reliance on grid electricity, KTDA has in the invested in a subsidiary – KTDA Power – whose focus in on generating power through renewable sources. The company runs a hydropower plant at Imenti Tea Factory which supplies sustainable power to the factory and the surrounding community. Surplus power is sold to the national grid, allowing the factory’s shareholders, who are the tea farmers, to earn extra income. KTDA Power is currently building two power stations which will be commissioned soon, and others at various development stages.

The Agency continues to take measures in ensuring energy efficiency in all its managed factories. We continue to invest in research and technology that will not only afford us greater energy savings but also efficiency in production and adherence to national and international commitments at mitigating the effects of climate change.