Construction of coal-powered plant to begin in September

Saturday March 28 2015

By JEFF OTIENO

The construction of the 1,000-Megawatt coal-fired thermal plant in Kenya’s coastal region is expected to start in September.

Amu Power Company, a consortium comprising Gulf Energy and Centum Investment, has already secured financing for the project from both international and local lenders.

“We expect construction to start in September, subject to the government making available the land which we have already identified in Manda Bay, Lamu County,” said Gulf Energy Managing Director, Francis Njogu in a recent interview.

The project will cost about $2 billion, of which some $500 million will be funded by equity and the balance through debt. Once completed, the project is expected to add 981.5 MW to the national grid, for the next 25 years, boosting the countries energy supply for both industrial and household needs. 

The high cost of power has remained a major impediment in the industrialisation process in East Africa. Constant power blackouts and power rationing are not uncommon in the region, especially during the dry season, when water levels in hydroelectric power dams are low.

The peak demand for Kenya is currently 1,470MW, while the current installed power capacity stands at 1,700MW.

In Kenya, hydro has been the leading source, with an installed capacity of 766.88MW, which is 64.9 per cent of the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) installed capacity. However, in October, electricity generated from geothermal sources overtook hydropower for the first time.

The biggest disadvantage hydro is its susceptibility to the vagaries of weather. It is the reason why the country is exploiting several of sources of energy, including coal, to increase its energy supply.

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