• Coal costs 7.8 US cents per KwH compared to 8.24 cents for geothermal.
• Coal for the Lamu plant will be imported from South Africa.
Yesterday the Government Spokesman Col Cyrus Oguna defended the planned 1050MW Lamu coal plant (see P25).
He said that coal would provide affordable reliable energy for Kenya's industrialisation at 7.8 US cents compared to 8.24 US cents for geothermal.
Oguna said the coal plant would provide jobs in Lamu and Kenya could not rely on agriculture forever. He said it would be a clean coal plant that would not pollute the environment.
However, critics of the Lamu coal plant says that the cost of coal is rising so that geothermal is already cheaper. The coal will come from South Africa so it will increase Kenya's balance of payments deficit.
These are healthy debates over what is in Kenya's best interest. Some people argue in favour of the Lamu coal plant and some people argue against it. This is democracy at work.
Unfortunately Oguna yesterday descended to calling critics of the Lamu plan "enemies of progress" who "would not wish to see Kenya grow so that we can continue being markets for goods from outside".
The government should not demonise its critics. They also wish the best for Kenya.
Quote of the day: "I don't think about time. You're here when you're here. I think about today, staying in tune."
John Lee Hooker
The American blues singer died on June 21, 2001.