Kenya: How land rights & environmental concerns are slowing completion of energy projects

Author: Amenya Ochieng, Kenya News Agency , Published on: 17 January 2019

"The ‘Pains And Gains’ Of Lamu’s Mega Projects"

Though Lamu County is positioning itself to become the next frontier for energy production in the country, companies and investors involved in the setting of the triad of projects are not happy about the myriad of “roadblocks” placed on their path by various stakeholders. The proposed three power projects are namely; the 300 Megawatt Kenwind Power project in Bahari area in Mpeketoni, the 1500 Megawatt Amu Coal Project in Kililana area in the mainland and the 200 Megawatt Zarara Oil and Gas Project in Pate Island...

Though collectively the three projects once completed and operational will contribute at least 2,000 MW to the national grid once completed and  up and running, they  remain bogged down  by a host of issues. These “roadblocks”range from  unresolved land issues to environmentalists’ concerns that remain a thorn to the investors skin. “For instance,the Kenwind Project should be up and running but we continue running into headwinds especially from a fellow prospective company that has also been seeking land for a wind power project,” Susan Nandwa, a senior official from the power company told KNA in an exclusive interview in Lamu Island...

However his sentiments have been met with skepticism by conservationist and Lamu Cultural Promotion Group Secretary General Salim Mirji who says that the kind of technology that Amu Power Plant is proposing is only meant to hood wink Lamu residents into accepting the project. “The Amu Power plant if allowed to take a grip of Lamu will be the end of Lamu’s fishing and tourism economy because all the effluence will be released both in the air and the sea,” Mirji says. Mirji further states that Lamu’s tourism and agriculture will come under threat, and most activities such as farming, fishing and pastoralism are likely to be no more once the project takes off.

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Related companies: Amu Power Kenwind