House team backs Sh200bn Lamu coal power plant plan


Mr David Gikaria. PHOTO | NMG

The parliamentary committee on energy has backed the establishment of a Sh200 billion coal plant in Lamu despite pollution fears.

The Energy Committee said Amu Power Company, the firm to operate the plant, will use advanced technology, which is safe for both the environment and human life.
The plant is to be established at Kwasasi in Hindi division.

Amu Power is a consortium of Gulf Energy and Centum Investment #ticker:ICDC. Some 975 acres of land has been set aside for the project expected to generate 1,050 megawatts of electricity on completion.

However, the plant has received a strong opposition from the community, leaders and activists who insist the project is hazardous and must not be allowed to take off.

But speaking during a tour of Lamu for a public participation forum, the MPs assured critics that the project that it will not affect the environment or their health.

The committee chairman who is also the Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria said the plant will use technology borrowed from countries such as the US, Germany, Israel and South Africa “which have proved beyond doubt that coal production can be safe.” Mr Gikaria said the same safety level applied in the countries would be reflected in the Lamu plant.

“Let’s not be deterred by misinformation about the coal plant project. The government intends to use the most advanced technology in producing coal here in Lamu. We have witnessed countries like America [United States], which initially didn’t want anything to do with coal production, but with technological advancements, they now have a huge plant in California. This means coal plants are safer now than ever before since they use a high degree of technology, which makes them safe to humans and the environment. That’s the kind of plant we want to set up here. People have absolutely nothing to worry about,” said Mr Gikaria.

READ: Lamu coal plant to cost power users Sh37bn yearly

He added that the law will be followed in the implementation of the project.

“I also want to remind Lamu residents and Kenyans at large that no project can be established in a place without following due procedures. An environmental Impact Assessment (ESIA) has already been conducted. The National Environment and Management Authority (Nema) has also been fully involved at the very initial stages before the project was approved. That means the project is very safe,” said Mr Gikaria.