Breaking News

Firm seeks Nema nod to set up Sh200bn coal-fired plant

Tuesday July 19 2016

Francis Njogu, the Amu Power Company CEO. PHOTO | FILE

Francis Njogu, the Amu Power Company CEO. PHOTO | FILE 

By NEVILLE OTUKI

Promoters of Kenya’s first coal-fired power plant have sought the approval of the environment watchdog to construct the Sh200 billion plant, in the latest attempt to circumvent hurdles that have delayed the mega-electricity project.

Amu Power Company — a consortium that won the tender to set up the plant— wants the nod of the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) to build East Africa’s first coal plant.

The 1,050-megawatt plant in the coastal town of Lamu is equivalent to 45 per cent of Kenya’s current installed power capacity of 2,333 megawatts (MW).

Construction of the plant was planned to start in September last year and end in June 2017, but the consortium suffered delays in preparing an environmental impact assessment report (EIA) to be submitted to Nema for approval.

Land acquisition delays also threw the mega-project into uncertainty.

The company has now submitted the EIA, which details the project’s site location, its likely impact on the environment and remedial measures alongside its decommissioning.

“Nema invites members of the public to submit oral or written comments within 30 days from the date of publication of this notice to the director-general, Nema, to assist the authority in the decision-making process for this project,” Nema says in a notice.

The Amu consortium brings together firms such as Gulf Energy, Centum Investment and Power Construction Corporation of China — in charge of the actual construction.

Electricity from the coal plant will be priced in the same range as geothermal energy at 7.52 US cents (Sh7.6) per unit — almost a third of what diesel-fired plants charge.