Kenya: Proposed coal plant's impacts on human health & environment make it a less attractive energy option, says columnist

Author: The Guardian (Nigeria), Published on: 12 June 2017

"Lamu coal plant doesn’t make sense as Kenya has better energy options"

To address...[a rise in energy demand] Kenya is modernising its electricity system and shifting away from costly diesel generators. Investments in new infrastructure are being made to lower prices. New projects are moving forward such as geothermal, natural gas, wind – such as the Lake Turkana Wind Farm, and a solar photovoltaic (PV) project in the northeastern city of Garissa. But the most ambitious, and most controversial, is a coal-fired power plant proposed for the seaside town of Lamu – a Unesco World Heritage site. Electricity from the Lamu project is expected to have a much lower market price than current prices, selling for about US$0.08/kWh. But this doesn’t include the costs of pollution, including greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2). When these are factored in, the full price of coal-fired electricity is much less attractive...

According to the project’s environmental and social impact assessment, the Lamu facility will produce about 8.8 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year. The assessment also states that each MWh of electricity from this type of plant results in one ton of carbon dioxide – making a total of 8.8 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Environmental economists have estimated the economic value of the damage caused to human health and the environment from climate change – known as the “social cost of carbon”...The climate change costs of coal will only increase in the coming years while innovation is driving the price of renewables down. Compared to coal, renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal, and wind, have lower total costs, less long-term risk, and greater potential to power Kenya’s sustainable economic development. [refers to Lake Turkana Wind Power]

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Related companies: Lake Turkana Wind Power