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KenGen set to pay Sh580m to move families from Olkaria

KenGen shareholders tour the Olkaria geothermal plant in Naivasha on September 21, 2012. Photo/Joyce Kimani
KenGen shareholders tour the Olkaria geothermal plant in Naivasha on September 21, 2012. Photo/Joyce Kimani 

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has released details of the planned resettlement of communities at Olkaria set to cost over Sh580 million.

The listed corporation says the cash, part of which is expected to come from the World Bank, will be used to construct houses and other amenities for people living on the site where the Olkaria IV power project will be set up.

Regulatory filings seen by the Business Daily show that the community has already agreed with the resettlement plan that represents a major budget overshoot of the previous estimate of $1 million (Sh85 million).

The power producer is planning to put up a 140 MW geothermal plant which is expected to negatively affect the community living in the area through noise and emissions. It has followed recommendations of a 2009 study undertaken by GIBB Africa and approved by the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) on the relocation.

“The findings of the study indicated that the local community living on and in the vicinity of the land identified for the establishment of the proposed station were to be relocated as a result of the anticipated cumulative effect of noise and hydrogen sulphide emissions,” said notes filed with Nema last month.

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The document show KenGen has already purchased 1,700 acres of land from Kedong Ranch at the Olkaria Domes area in Naivasha District and has budgeted Sh587.92 million for the construction of facilities as part of the resettlement plan.

With the money, the State firm plans to put up a school complete with staff quarters, 164 three-roomed housing units with detached pit latrines, bathrooms and kitchens. It will also put up three churches with three-roomed pastors’ houses, a social hall, a cattle dip, two fish ponds, a dispensary and water supply network with common watering points.

Electricity connection to the school and dispensary will also be implemented.

Planned at the same time is a six kilometre murrum access road to connect Olkaria IV power station to the resettlement site, and other access roads to connect the settlements to the school, dispensary, social hall and churches. “KenGen is in possession of the land plan deed and transfer of land title from Kedong to KenGen is in progress.

The land tenure for the resettlement site will be through a title held communally hence the title will be transferred from KenGen to the local community with assistance of the community lawyer,” notes the report.

The construction of the Olkaria IV Power Station is part of an initiative to increase the amount of power from the current 1,500 MW to 3,000 MW by 2018 and to diversify the sources of energy.

The Olkaria I and IV 280 MW projects will be commissioned in 2014 at an estimated cost of Sh85 billion ($1 billion), Eddy Njoroge, the chief executive officer of KenGen said in disclosures contained in the latest annual report for the period ended June 2012.

“KenGen’s capacity expansion programme is fully under way, with 316MW of the planned 500MW by end of 2012 already commissioned. We are also investing resources to install an additional 1500MW by 2018,” he said.

Geothermal power-generation is part of the States effort to move from thermal electricity generation.

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