Amu Power seeks ERC nod for Sh200bn coal-fired energy plant in Lamu

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

Promoters of Kenya’s first coal-fired power plant have kicked off application for the energy regulator’s approval to generate and supply electricity ahead of the construction of the Sh200 billion project.

Amu Power Company — the consortium that won the tender to build the plant— is set to apply for the licence from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to produce electricity with construction expected to commence towards the year-end.

People opposed to the planned construction of the 1,050-megawatt project have 15 days from yesterday to express their reservations to the ERC.

“Any public or local authority, person or body of persons desirous of making any representations on or objections to the application or to the grant of the licence should do so by letter addressed to the ERC,” Amu said in a media notice yesterday.

Some civil society activists have protested against the coal plant, saying its emissions would pollute the pristine air of the Coastal town of Lamu, 21 kilometres from plant, and pose health hazards.  

Amu officials have in the recent past sought to allay the fears saying they have lined up safety technologies. The consortium has a power purchase agreement with electricity distributor Kenya Power that will buy the coal-fired electricity at Sh7.5 (7.52 US cents) per kilowatt hour for onward sale to homes and businesses.

At Sh7.5 per unit, the coal electricity is nearly three times cheaper than what diesel-fired plants charge (Sh20).

The project promoters recently also sought approval from the National Environment Management Authority — the environment watchdog.

Construction of the coal plant was set to start in September last year and end in June 2017 but has been pushed to the last quarter of this year, slowed down by resettlement of displaced people.
Construction will take 42 months.