Markets & Finance

KenGen to set up coal plant near Mombasa cement factory

The 300-megawatt coal power plant that KenGen plans to build at the North Coast will be moved to a new site because the initial location, Dongo Kundu in Mombasa, is on a flight path.

KenGen managing director Eddie Njoroge said the Sh104 billion plant will now be built near the Mombasa Cement factory.

“The Directorate of Civil Aviation said the initial site at Dongo Kundu was on the flight path. The chimney of the power station was too high and was on the funnel of the runway,” said the MD in a telephone interview.

A contract awarded to a South Korea firm, Daewoo Engineering & Construction Company Limited, will be signed on Tuesday, following completion of a feasibility study on the proposed site.

The coal-fired plant which will be constructed on joint venture basis and which is expected to be running in three-four years may be extended to 600 MW.

Raise stake

The tender requires the formation of a joint venture company, with the winning bidder holding a 60 per cent stake and KenGen the rest.

KenGen could then raise its stake up to 49 per cent.

To transmit the power from the source, the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company has contracted Indian firm Kalpataru to construct a Sh7.4 billion 400 kV (kilovolts) line to be used to transfer electricity from thermal power stations in the coastal area to Nairobi.

The targeted plants include the 90 MW Rabai Diesel plant that is already operational, the 120 MW diesel facility being put up by KenGen and the proposed 300 MW coal power plants.

In 2010, the Energy ministry announced it was concessionning coal blocks within Mui Basin, Kitui for exploration, exploitation and development.

To accelerate that, exploration, exploitation and development of the coal, the government has created 4 coal blocks for lease to prospective investors for possible exploration, exploitation and development.

A feasibility study to prove commerciality of the coal deposits has been done in some of the blocks where most of the appraisal wells have been drilled.

Coal prospecting has remained a key project in the Ministry of Energy since 2000.

Initial surface exploratory activities were concentrated in Mui Basin (400 Km2) of Kitui and Mwingi Districts, but in 2002 work moved to Taru Formations in Kwale and Kilifi Districts in Coast Province.