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Kenya: Lamu economy including fishing, tourism & agriculture threatened if Amu Power gets approval to establish coal plant, includes company response

The local economy in Lamu, driven by informal jobs in fishing, tourism and agriculture is face threat should Amu Power's proposed coal plant is given the green light. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Amu Power to respond to these allegations. The full response in included. 

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2 July 2019

China exports coal-related equipment and technology to foreign countries while turning to renewable energy domestically, critic says

Author: Dana Ullman, Foreign Policy

“When Coal Comes to Paradise”, 9 June 2019

… While China is on track to meeting its Paris climate agreement targets domestically, it continues to invest in and profit from coal power projects across the world. Domestic restrictions do not apply to projects abroad, and China has capitalized on this exception by exporting its surplus of coal-related equipment and technology to countries desperate for industry, undermining a global push to phase out coal…

… Since Kenya has no infrastructure in place for the transport of coal, South Africa has been granted a contract to import coal to the site until Kenya can build a railway from Lamu to Mui Basin in Kitui County, over 200 miles away, where concessions have been granted to Chinese companies to begin coal mining.

Critics of the project argue that the long-term costs of pollution, water contamination, overpopulation, and imports far outweigh saving a few cents on electricity…

The coal project is owned by Amu Power, a Kenyan, Omani, U.S., and Chinese consortium. China, through three companies including state-owned China Huadian Corporation, the world’s second-largest coal plant developer. In 2017, China Power Global signed a $2 billion deal with Amu Power for the coal plant. The Industrial Commercial Bank of China has financed $1.2 billion. In May 2018, the U.S. conglomerate General Electric purchased a 20 percent stake—$400 million—in the power plant. GE says it will “design, manufacture and deliver its ‘Ultra Super-Critical’ clean coal technology components [boiler and steam turbine generator] and air quality control systems.”

… Testifying at a tribunal hearing on LAPSSET, Lauri Myllyvirta, a coal and air pollution expert at Greenpeace, said “the project would emit five to 10 times more air pollution than new coal plants are allowed to emit in China.”…

… The fishermen invariably complain that dredging for the construction of Lamu’s port about 10 miles away is the cause of dwindling numbers of fish… Dredging for the Lamu port has already destroyed mangrove forests, coral reefs, and traditional breeding areas for fish and other wildlife which local communities have depended on for their food and livelihoods for centuries. Conflicts over compensation, jobs, and land rights have also intensified, resulting in legal cases and protests stalling the coal plant project over the last few years… [Also refers to Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank , African Development Bank]


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Author: 自由时报 (台湾)

“肯亚首座中资火力电厂 环保计画不周遭判暂停建设”,2019年6月27日

肯亚国家环境法庭(Kenya's National Environmental)…做出仲裁,称因官员未能对该国东北部拉穆(Lamu)地区、由中国协助建设的首座火力发电厂做出全面环境评估,而停止该发电厂建设。法庭表示,中国支持的发电厂建设未充分咨询公众,且处理和储存有毒煤灰的计画不充分也不明确。

《Quartz》报导,肯亚国家环境法庭… 取消了开发商Amu Power的建设许可证,要求该厂商对位在拉穆地区、由中国协助建设的肯亚首座火力发电厂进行新的环境评估。该发电厂耗资20亿美元,由中国公司和肯亚财团Amu Power共同投资和建设。法庭指出,该火力发电厂建设未经充分公众咨询,且未有明确、充分的有毒煤灰处理和储存计画。


该判决也打击了肯尼亚当局,因其期待火力发电厂将有助于满足肯亚快速增长的电力需求。虽然现任肯亚总统甘耶达(Uhuru Kenyatta)宣布,预计到2020年该国将100%使用绿能,但仍为火力发电厂预留了约975英亩的土地,预计该发电厂完工后,将产生1050千瓩的电力。

不过,虽然最新判决推迟了发电厂建设,但该项目并未被取消,Amu Power仍能申请新的许可证,或在下个月内对判决提出申诉。


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Author: 自由時報(台灣)


肯亞國家環境法庭(Kenya's National Environmental)…做出仲裁,稱因官員未能對該國東北部拉穆(Lamu)地區、由中國協助建設的首座火力發電廠做出全面環境評估,而停止該發電廠建設。法庭表示,中國支持的發電廠建設未充分諮詢公眾,且處理和儲存有毒煤灰的計畫不充分也不明確。

《Quartz》報導,肯亞國家環境法庭… 取消了開發商Amu Power的建設許可證,要求該廠商對位在拉穆地區、由中國協助建設的肯亞首座火力發電廠進行新的環境評估。該發電廠耗資20億美元,由中國公司和肯亞財團Amu Power共同投資和建設。法庭指出,該火力發電廠建設未經充分公眾諮詢,且未有明確、充分的有毒煤灰處理和儲存計畫。


該判決也打擊了肯尼亞當局,因其期待火力發電廠將有助於滿足肯亞快速增長的電力需求。雖然現任肯亞總統甘耶達(Uhuru Kenyatta)宣布,預計到2020年該國將100%使用綠能,但仍為火力發電廠預留了約975英畝的土地,預計該發電廠完工後,將產生1050千瓩的電力。

不過,雖然最新判決推遲了發電廠建設,但該項目並未被取消,Amu Power仍能申請新的許可證,或在下個月內對判決提出申訴。


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Company response
17 April 2018

Amu Power's response

Author: Amu Power

"Lamu coal-fired plant will accelerate local and regional growth while conserving the environment and driving socio-economic impact"

…We acknowledge that the environmental concerns raised by the community and the various stakeholders are genuine…Lamu Coal Fired power plant will comply with all mandatory requirements applicable to Health, Safety and Environmental laws and regulations in Kenya as well as the environmental and social safeguards stipulated by the African Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank Group.

…The project will directly and indirectly create jobs through its initial 200 billion investment that will go into the development phase as well as another set of jobs during execution as well as the through the plant’s value chain

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17 April 2018

Livelihoods in Lamu could be compromised if govt. approves Amu Power's proposed coal plant, says columnist

Author: Jacqueline Kubania, Daily Nation (Kenya)

"At what cost will Lamu coal power plant be to Man and sea?"

Kenya is about to make an important decision about...[Lamu town's] future. On the one hand, the country has an option to stick to its renewable energy resources and abide by the Paris Agreement of 2015 that committed countries to reducing carbon emissions in order to arrest and eventually reverse the debilitating effects of climate change. And, on the other hand, the country, already an East African powerhouse, is chomping at the bit, raring to exponentially grow its industries and transition into a middle-income economy by the year 2030. And, to do this, the people who wrote the country’s development blueprint believe Kenya must turn its back on the climate change agreement it signed and fire up a coal power plant that will meet the energy needs of its future.And Lamu archipelago, the lovely Unesco heritage site on the shores of the Indian Ocean, is at the grand stage where this big economic revolution is supposed to be powered from...

...But even though many residents cannot fully articulate the effects that the coal plant might have on the island’s environment, some have listened to enough anti-coal activists to worry about what will happen to their livelihoods once the plant is in operation. Ali Msuo is a veteran fisherman who has worked this trade since the colonial government was in power. At 72, he is still sprightly and light on his feet, able to make elegant dives to the bottom of the ocean to fish for lobster.He catches them with a hand-held net or a spear. You have to be fast. Ali is fast. And has decades of experience. But like so many fishermen in and around the Lamu archipelago, this father of 12 has noticed that the ocean is not as bountiful as before, and that it takes longer time and greater distances to catch even a fraction of what he used to...The fear is that the coal plant will make things worse, killing the little that’s left and making it difficult for fish repopulation in the region.

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26 February 2018

Kenya: The first coal plant in Lamu backed by China triggers concerns over environment and livelihood, project frozen pending the outcome of court

Author: Somini Sengupta, New York Times

…Kenya could soon get its first coal-fired power plant, courtesy of China. The plan’s champions, including senior Kenyan officials, say the plant will help meet the country’s fast-growing demand for electricity and draw investment. Its critics worry that it will damage the area’s fragile marine ecosystem, threaten the livelihoods of fishing communities and pollute the air. The battle over the project, which is frozen pending the outcome of a court case…

… The plan embodies a contradiction of Chinese global climate leadership: The country’s huge coal sector is turning outward in search of new markets as coal projects contract at home. A Chinese multinational is tapped to build the $2 billion, 975-acre project, and a Chinese bank is helping to finance it. It represents a test for Kenya as well. While its leaders describe the Lamu plant as a source of cheap, reliable electricity, the country is also seeking to become a renewable energy hub, …and a promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Coal could upend those goals. …

A lawsuit by a local group, filed in November 2016 in Kenya’s National Environmental Tribunal, has stopped construction in its tracks. … In court documents, the national environmental management authority, a semiautonomous agency within the Environment Ministry that reviews the impact of development projects, said it had approved the proposal. It maintained that “all environmental concerns were considered and mitigation measures were recommended,” and asked that what it called the “misconceived” lawsuit be dismissed. … 

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Author: Somini Sengupta, New York Times




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Author: Somini Sengupta, New York Times

…由於中國的幫助,肯尼亞不久將會有自己的第一個火力發電廠。 …項目的支持者…肯尼亞高級官員…說,發電廠將有助於滿足該國快速增長的電力需求,還會吸引投資。項目的批評者擔心,發電廠會破壞該地區脆弱的海洋生態系統,威脅漁業社區的生計,污染空氣。這個項目目前處於凍結狀態,正在等待法庭審判的結果。 …


當地一個團體在2016年11月向肯尼亞國家環境法庭…提起訴訟,導致電廠的施工突然停止。 …在法庭文件中,負責評估開發項目的影響的國家環境管理機構稱其批准了該項目。該機構稱“考慮了一切環境問題且推薦了減輕影響的措施”,並請求駁回它所說的“錯誤”訴訟。 …

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