Construction of the controversial Amu coal-fired power plant is set to start in two months, Transport CS James Macharia said on Friday, giving a boost to the proposed Lamu Resort City.
“We are happy to say that groundbreaking of the plant should be expected in the next two months,” said Macharia during the launch of the Lamu Port City Investment Framework at the KICC in Nairobi.
Works at the proposed 1,050-megawatt plant was initially set to start in June 2015, but has faced strong headwinds including land acquisition, obtaining requisite licences and revolt from the local community as well as international environmental watchdogs.
In November 2016, the Energy Regulatory Commission denied the firm a power generation licence due to the power generator’s failure to obtain the Environmental Impact Assessment license from the National Environmental Management Authority.
The regulator, however, reviewed its decision in February, overruling objections to the construction of the power plant by conservationists. ERC said it had reviewed the views of interested parties and was satisfied that all land compensation and environmental concerns had been sufficiently dealt with.
Lamu Port City Investment Framework presented yesterday by British design, engineering and project management consultancy firm Atkins Acuity shows that Amu power plant will be the main source of power during the second phase of the city’s development.
The coal-fired plant will meet the estimated 630MW demand for the second phase of the proposed Lamu Port City, a Vision 2030 project.
The first phase of the Lamu City project with an estimated demand of 75MW will receive power directly from the national grid, the consultant said.
“At the onset of the Lapsset project, there was no electric power supply in the whole of Lamu. It was just two generators,” Lapsset Corridor Development Authority CEO Silvester Kasuku said. “Today the national grid is connected right at the port and Lamu is properly lit.”
Construction of Amu Power, backed by a consortium of Gulf Energy and listed Centum Investments, is expected to take 30 months. The plant will largely rely on coal imports from South Africa at an earlier estimated cost of $50 (about Sh5,172 ) per tonne until coal production from Mui Basin in Kitui county starts.
Macharia said one of the consortia working with the government estimated the multi-trillion-shilling Lapsset project will cost about $40 billion (Sh4.14 trillion) on completion.