Kenyan manufacturer Devki Group has switched on its 15 megawatts coal power plant at its Kajiado factory.
The firm’s new power generating plant is firing its clinker production facility and its steel manufacturing factory.
Devki Group, which owns National Cement and Devki Steel Mills, set up the plant at a cost of Sh2.8 billion ($28 million).
“We received the licence to set up the 15MW power plant early this year and we started the process of putting it up soon after. We are now operational,” said Narendra Raval, the Devki Group chairman.
The Ruiru-based firm opted to set up its own power generating plant owing to what it termed high rates charged by electricity distributor Kenya Power. The new plant comprises a coal-fired steam generator and a steam turbine.
Most cement firms in the country rely on national grid-electricity to fire their plants, but several like in the case for Devki have indicated plans for a complete switchover to coal-fired plants citing high power bills.
Devki Group is also in the final stages of setting up a 35 MW geothermal power plant in Menengai, Nakuru County, at a cost of Sh9 billion ($90 million). The firm plans to sell the power generated to the national power supplier.
“We opted to set up our own source of power because getting it from Kenya Power did not make business sense, their price was too high. Setting up our own power plant saved Devki 20 per cent of the total amount Kenya Power was demanding. It is important for us to price our products competitively and power is key in deciding the final retail price, when the power is expensive consumers are forced to pay more for the finished goods,” said Raval.
Devki supplies steel and cement countrywide and was among five Kenyan companies that had submitted bids for a Sh300 million contract to supply steel to the Standard Gauge Railway.
Two years ago the firm began exporting metal sheets to Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
Over the past two years the firm has been on a two-phase expansion drive where the Athi river based plant received new production equipment to increase the factory’s output to 1.7 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) from 0.35 mtpa.
Devki Group sought Sh7.4 billion ($74 billion) to fund expansion of the Athi River unit and construction of the new one in Kajiado from the World Bank’s private lending arm IFC.
The clinker production facility in Kajiado is built on a 2,200 acres of land between Merrueshi and Mbirikani on Kajiado County an area rich with limestone and clay deposits.
The company estimates the place to have up to 60 million tonnes of limestone reserves that can sustain up to 45 years of production. The clinker is expected to have a capacity of 1.1 mtpa.