Kenya: Lamu coal power project risks further delays

Centum Chairman, Chris Kirubi and CEO, James Mworia.

Centum Chairman, Chris Kirubi and CEO, James Mworia.

09 February 2015, Nairobi – Construction of the 981 mega watts coal-fired power plant in Lamu by a consortium comprising Centum and Gulf Energy risks further delays beyond the commencement date of January 2016.

This is if the county leadership is dissatisfied with what the developers will offer the community, as well as the health and environmental impact, which will be disclosed in an assessment report.

Already, the coal power project is behind schedule owing to disputes in the award of the tender, which were later dismissed.

Lamu county governor Issa Timammy and other leaders held a two-day consultative meeting with the management of Amu Power, the joint venture formed by Centum and Gulf Energy to undertake the project, in Nairobi which ended on Tuesday.

The leaders said key concerns subject for further discussions include impact on the environment, employment of locals, resettlement of persons to be displaced for the projects and compensation.

Timammy on Tuesday said the county leadership awaits findings of the ongoing environmental and social impact assessment study by Amu Power next month before they can lodge demands.

However, they made it clear that they will only allow the Sh164.8 billion ($1.8 billion) project, part of the 5,000-plus-megawatt project, to proceed if concerns are addressed.

“We don’t want a repeat of the Lappset where we are now in the fourth year and no one has been compensated. If a resource is in a county, even if it’s national, the county must benefit,” Timammy said.

“The national government should have consulted the county because this [coal] project is being undertaken using Lamu resources.”

Lamu senator Abu Chiaba said the leaders would demand that Amu trains at least 1,000 locals to be absorbed in the mega-project.

The Public Private Partnership Unit’s petition committee on January 13 gave the consortium the go-ahead for the project after dismissing an objection from a losing consortium of Hebei Construction Investment Group and Liketh Investments.

The unsuccessful petition had challenged the tendering process, charging that Centum teamed up with Gulf after being locked out in the initial stage contrary to procurement law.

HCIG-Liketh consortium had also argued that it was unfairly evaluated and demanded a fresh process.

The proposed Lamu coal-fired power plant is part of the government’s plans to generate 1,920MW of electricity from coal by December 2017. More electricity is being tapped from geothermal wells (1,600MW), Liquefied Natural Gas (700MW), wind (650MW) and hydro (420MW).
*Constant Munda – The Star

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