Uhuru sets stage for Sh6bn US firm’s investment in Kisumu solar plant


President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks in Kisumu on Tuesday. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NMG

An American firm will set up a Sh6.4 billion solar plant in Kisumu, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.

Ergon Solair Africa Limited, a solar developer and an affiliate of Ergon Solair PBC USA will establish the 40-megawatt plant on a 249-acre land in Kibos.

Mr Kenyatta said the project has received all the requisite approvals from the government.

“I am pleased to announce to you that the proposed Solar One Limited plant at Kibos has received all government approvals and the project implementation can now commence immediately,” he said.

The President said the move is aimed at providing clean and affordable energy to the residents while creating jobs for the youth.

The project, he said, is part of the ongoing reforms in the energy sector, which will position Kenya as a global leader in the production of green and affordable energy.

The power plant that will supply the western region with green energy received approval from Energy and Petroleum Regulatory in 2020 to generate and sell electricity.

The Us company had said it would be ready for commissioning in December 2023 with a Power Purchase Agreement set to be negotiated.

“We have agreed with those from Solar One that Kenya can no longer afford to pay this high cost, and high tariffs some of our producers of electricity continue to demand from us.

"Kenya must have a reduction in the cost of energy if we are to improve our competitiveness and ultimate position to create opportunities of employment for our young people,” said Mr Kenyatta.

The head of state was speaking in Kisumu during the commissioning of the shipyard and the launch of the MV Uhuru II wagon ferry on Tuesday afternoon.

Locally assembled

The ferry is the first ship to be constructed locally within the port by the Kenya Navy in partnership with Damen Gorinchem, a Dutch shipbuilding and engineering company.

The vessel, according to the Kenya Ports Authority will have a carrying capacity of 1,800 tonnes, which is 540 tonnes more than the refurbished MJV Uhuru I and can export goods to Uganda within 12 hours.

MV Uhuru II has a capacity of carrying up to 22 wagons and an estimated capacity of two million litres of crude will be commissioned later this year, according to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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