Centum Investment is constructing solar and diesel power plants that will generate 12 megawatts (MW) of electricity to power its Two Rivers Development, a real estate project that is designed to host the largest shopping mall in the region.
The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm has secured a licence from the energy regulator to generate and supply electricity at the mixed-use commercial development that comprises a mega shopping mall, hotel, office blocks and apartments.
Centum chief executive James Mworia said in an interview that the complex will produce two megawatts of solar energy and generate 10MW of diesel power in addition to tapping electricity supply from the national grid.
“We have three sources of power. The blended cost should meet at Kenya Power’s rates for consumers,” said Mr Mworia.
The Garden City Mall on Nairobi’s Thika Road launched a similar solar carport last September that was to generate own electricity for the shopping complex.
Electricity from diesel generators, the most expensive source in Kenya, costs about Sh18 per unit (kilowatt hour) while the feed-in-tariff for solar energy connected to the grid is Sh12.
Centum’s power generating project was among the nine that received licences from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) last year.
Other power generation projects in the pipeline include Orpower22’s 35 MW geothermal plant in Nakuru’s Menengai basin, Sosian Energy (35 MW) and Quantum Power East Africa (35 MW) all in the same area. Their construction will start this year.
Indian cement manufacturer Cemtech also got a licence to build a 30 MW coal power plant in West Pokot.
Two Rivers sits on a 102-acre piece of land along Limuru Road in Nairobi.
The first phase of the project includes a mega shopping mall whose space has been booked by global firms making their first entry into Kenya.
French retailer Carrefour is set to be the mall’s anchor tenant, alongside other brands like LC Wakiki – a Turkish luxury clothing line – and Virgin Active, a platinum health club founded by billionaire Richard Branson.
The mall, billed as the largest in East and Central Africa, covers an area of 1.2 million square feet (excluding parking space for 3,000 vehicles) and will have 220 shops.
Two Rivers is expected to generate $25 million (Sh2.5 billion) in annual rental income.
UK-based multinational Old Mutual in January invested Sh6.4 billion in the project, giving it an equivalent 50 per cent stake.
Centum last April also said that a Chinese firm, Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic), had invested $70 million (Sh7.1 billion) in Two Rivers for a 38.9 per cent stake. Besides the equity investment, Avic is also the main contractor for the project.
State-owned investment firm ICDC, which has a 23 per cent stake in Centum, made a $5 million (Sh462.5 million) equity investment while Co-operative Bank contributed Sh7.2 billion in debt funding for the project.