Renewable Energy Technology Assistance Programme (RETAP)
RETAP is a regional NGO registered in Kenya in 1995 with a broad mandate and vision of promoting R&D, commercialization, dissemination and capacity building initiatives for renewable energy technologies (RETs) within the East African Region. In early 1995, RETAP conducted an energy needs assessment study in institutions and found out that due to the prohibitive costs of electricity and cooking gas (LPG), 95% of institutions were relying on fuel wood as the main source of cooking energy. Another major barrier to using electricity and LPG is the prohibitive costs of the cooking appliances. Moreover, the high unreliability of supply of both electricity and LPG, not to mention the limited extent of the national electric grid, also necessitated alternative and/or supplementary options. Further 90% of all the institutions are using the traditional open-fires whose level of energy efficiency is about 10% and the resultant high consumption and expenditure on fuel wood accounts for approximately 25% of the total boarding budget. Using open-fires is characterized by heavy indoor air pollution, thus exposing the end-users to serious health risks. Another study estimated that a typical institution using 30 tonnes of wood per month clears about 3 hectares of forest cover which means that institutions are contributing to massive deforestation in Kenya. RETAP therefore emerged as a demand-driven and pragmatic initiative with broad objectives of promoting and creating awareness about RETs, in addition to empowering and enabling institutions achieve self-sufficiency in fuel wood supply and demand, and increasing end-use energy efficiency, thus become entry points and demonstration centers for energy and environmental conservation in Kenya.