My journey from Mombasa, Kenya to UK has been a fun filled one ( to be continued on a different note…….) but also really focused. Through out my academic and professional experiences, life has taught me to have a reason for making choices at all or certain times in life. For me, one of the choices i had to make while seeking an institution of higher learning in UK was one that respected the interface between the theory taught in lectures and the practical world each scholar seeks to be apart of long after the scholar life is gone. The university of Surrey is one choice am glad i made, because besides wonderful things happening here, Theory in all its forms meets practice.
On 23rd October 2016, the Energy Economics and technology class( of which i am proud to be) made a visit to Apsely farms, the second biggest bio-gas plant in UK. The plant, located in Hampshire is home to a state of the art investment in a facility that generates electricity and sells it to the national grid. The director, Mr. Henry, while explaining to us how the plant operates indicated that the bio-gas plant is fed with crops and in turn it produces manure and methane gas. The gas is blown into an engine which drives a generator. The electricity produced is fed into the national grid. The plant also produces natural gas, having cleaned the bio-gas, which is injected into the gas network while the manure known as digestate is stored in a vast lagoon and spread on the land in the spring, to fertilise the new crops.
Of great interest during the discussion was the subsidies that the UK government had put in place that supported such establishments. As developing energy experts, and with aspirations of adding value to my country’s renewable energy sector, the feed in tariff policy and the renewable energy obligations was an area of interest to us. The director made it clear that his business would not exist were it not for the energy subsidies in place; and that all renewable energy initiatives are made to be successful with the help of such subsidies.
While responding on the challenges facing the sector, he decried an inadequate policy making process, that critically left out some key players in the whole renewable energy loop; and as a word of advise to us, he advised us to critically evaluate all the aspects of any policy to be adopted before its rolled out….back to class and something to think about home; are the subsidies in energy sector back home operational?…that was was a day to write home about……a great thinking and practical day