The Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) will build a Sh20 billion hydro-electric power plant and set up an irrigation scheme along River Arror in Kerio Valley.
The project is funded by the Italian government and will be implemented by KVDA and other development partners. The plant is expected to inject 80 megawatts in the national grid.
The power project will be the second in Kerio Valley after the Turkwel hydro-power plant which is owned by KVDA and leased to KenGen #ticker:KEGN.
“We expect the project to kick off in the next two or so months now that feasibility studies have been carried out,” said KVDA Managing Director David Kimosop.
He said that the project will minimise importation of power and ease forex surcharge on power bills linked to diesel powered generators.
The Turkwel plant was built by French firm Spie Batkinolles between 1986 and 1991 at Sh6 billion. It generates annual revenue of about Sh1.6 billion but remits only Sh45 million to the regional development body for conservation, according to KVDA.
The dam’s storage capacity is 1,641 million cubic metres but it has never been full since it was constructed.
Investors have in recent years shied away from putting money in hydro power plants, instead investing in renewable energy like wind and geothermal.
Mr Kimosop disclosed plans by the authority to put up similar hydro-electricity and irrigation projects at Tot and Kimwarer in Kerio Valley.
A tussle between KVDA and Lake Victoria North Water Services Board (LVNWSB) had threatened to stall implementation of the project, forcing the government to intervene.
“The government has prioritised the implementation of this project since it will significantly improve the economy of Elgeyo- Marakwet county,” said Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa when he toured the area.
It later emerged that KVDA and the National Irrigation Board (NIB) were permitted to implement the project.
More than 6,000 acres of land will be placed under irrigation under the Arror Integrated Scheme covering over 20,000 families.
However, families which will be displaced to pave the way for the project are demanding accountability in compensation.
“The KVDA should make public names of people who are to benefit from land compensation,” demanded a resident.
“Land compensation is among issues we are still discussing and the residents need to be patient,” appealed Mr Kimosop.