Lamu residents assured of clean energy in controversial coal plant

Energy Committee chair David Gikaria PHOTO NATASHA NEEMA

Lamu,KENYA:The Parliamentary Committee on Energy has assured Lamu residents that the intended Sh 200 billion coal fired power plant in the county will employ the use of advanced technology safe for both the environment and humans.

The coal plant is to be established at Kwasasi area in Hindi division by the Amu Power company.

A total of 975 acres of land have already been acquired in the area in readiness for the project.

However the plan has and continues to receive a strong opposition from the community, leaders and activists who insist that the project is a danger hazard and must not be allowed to take off.

Speaking when they toured Lamu for a public participation forum on energy and petroleum exploration,the committee urged residents and leaders who have voiced their opposition to the project to rest easy as it will not in any way affect the environment of their health as earlier believed.

The chairperson of the Energy Committee who is also Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria said the intended coal plant will use highly placed technology borrowed from countries like the US,Germany,Israel and South Africa which have proved beyond doubt that coal production can be safe.

Gikaria said the mentioned nations are actively involved in coal production using the safest technological modes and that the same will be applied in the Lamu coal plant.

“Initially even America 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.Thats the kind of plant we want to set up here.People have absolutely nothing to worry about,”said Gikaria.

The deputy chairperson of the committee who is also Endebess MP Robert Pokuse said the intended coal plant will help resolve the decade old challenges of power shortages at the coastal region.

Pokuse said Kenya produces approximately 2,300 megawatts of electricity out of which over 1,700 megawatts are required for consumption.

He said with the coal plant in place,Kenya will be able to produce additional power to boost the existing sources and ensure steady supply of the same.

“We expect the plant will produce approximately 1,050 megawatts of power once it starts functioning.If we produce 1000 megawatts plus,we will have earned mother Kenya a steady supply of power and also ensure no more shortages here at the coast,”said Pokuse.