GE buys Sh40bn stake in Lamu coal plant

Thursday May 17 2018

General Electric chief commercial officer Steam Power Michael Keroulle (right), Amu Power Company CEO Francis Njogu (centre) and General Electric Power regional executive sub-Sahara Africa George Njenga at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi on May 16, 2018 after signing partnership agreement. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

General Electric chief commercial officer Steam Power Michael Keroulle (right), Amu Power Company CEO Francis Njogu (centre) and General Electric Power regional executive sub-Sahara Africa George Njenga at Intercontinental Hotel in Nairobi on May 16, 2018 after signing partnership agreement. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG 

By JAMES KARIUKI
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American energy firm GE Power has bought a Sh40 billion stake in the Centum-fronted 1,050MW Lamu coal-fired electricity generation plant.

GE Power’s Chief Commercial Manager Michael Keroulle’ yesterday said the deal will see the American conglomerate allocated 20 per cent shares of Amu Power.

The fresh capital injection will be used for acquisition of plant machinery, a boiler and steam turbine generator built using GEs latest clean coal technology as well as air quality control systems.

“The technology greatly reduces emission of Sulphur Oxides, Nitrogen Oxides and particulates (dusts) to levels comparable to gas fired power plants,” he said.
Mr Keroulle’ spoke after he represented GE in signing a deal with the project’s developer Gulf Energy.

The coal plant is to be set up in the next 42 months.

It is expected to create 2,000 direct jobs and employ another 14,000 indirectly within Lamu.

Amu Power Chief Executive Francis Njogu said GE’s entry through allocation of new shares will enable Amu Power to retain its mix of shareholders notably Centum Investment Company, Gulf Energy, China Huadian, Sichuan Number 3 Power Construction Company and Sichuan Electric Power Design and Consulting Company.

The firm has a contract with the Kenyan government project where it expects to deliver its power to the national grid at US Cents 7.81/kWh for the next 20 years.

“GE is at the heart of Amu Power and its latest technology will address concerns raised by locals on pollution while enabling us to efficiently produce power with the least downtimes.

“They (GE) will not only supply and install the plant but will offer aftersales services during the tenure of the project,” said Mr Njogu.

The project has faced criticism and severe opposition where locals backed by environmentalists have contested its implementation, especially after Amu Power obtained National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) approvals.

But its implementation suffered a setback after the project’s opponents filed an appeal at the Nema Tribunal in March 2016.

The Amu Power boss expressed optimism that the pending appeal before the Nema Tribunal will be concluded soon to enable them embark on the project.

“We have wasted 4 years but GE’s revolutionary technology has been worth the long wait. The technology is far much better than what GE has installed in other coal-fired plants across the world,” he said.