NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) is set to invest Sh5 billion in the construction of 10 hydro plants.
The plants will generate 22 megawatts of power to be used in the production of tea with the aim of reducing the cost of production currently pegged at Sh4 per kilo of green leaf.
Last year, the Ministry of Energy conducted a feasibility study for 12 new sites for potential small hydro projects to the tune of Sh40 million mainly in tea growing areas.
KTDA Projects Manager Lucas Maina said on Friday that the agency intends to raise 35 percent of the investment through equity from stakeholder farmers and 65 percent through debt.
“Farmers are more interested in quick returns and may not be willing to participate but I am sure we will still be able to meet our target,” Mr Maina said.
KTDA commissioned an energy subsidiary, KTDA Power Company (KTPC) in January to aid its energy generation initiatives in a move designed to reduce factory companies’ energy spend and increase tea farmers’ incomes.
Mr Maina said KTPC is charged with the consolidation of the agency’s ongoing initiatives and reduce the cost of energy investments by getting the 60 factory companies under its aegis to work together.
“Ultimately we are looking at having a hydro plant at each of our factories,” he said.
Mini hydro plants are constructed in such a way that they do not affect the local communities as power is generated from the natural flow of rivers.