, SEOUL, South Korea, Nov 19 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has asked the government South Korea to help Kenya attain self-sufficiency in energy as a path to industrial development.
The PM asked for collaboration that will see Kenya exploit its full potential for geothermal and coal power.
He also wants Korea to support Kenya’s dreams for the development of nuclear power.
Speaking at a bilateral meeting with Korea’s Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik in Seoul, Odinga said Kenya is under exploiting its energy resources because of lack of finances.
He said that the coal power plant to be constructed by Daewoo Corporation in Kilifi would be producing about 300MW while the government’s real goal is to have 1000MW out of the station.
Odinga said in the Rift Valley where the potential for geothermal power stands at 7000 MW, the country is currently producing only 150 MW.
“We are looking for a proper and affordable financial arrangement that can help us exploit our full energy potential,” the PM said.
The PM said Kenya is serious about exploring the nuclear option as a source of power and asked Korean firms to consider setting up plants in Nairobi under a built, operate and transfer arrangement.
Odinga said Energy remains one of the biggest threats to Kenya’s dream of being Africa’s investment destination.
Kenya currently has a total installed power capacity of 1,215MW, and peak demand can reach 1,150MW.
He said it is one of the largest household costs in Kenya and addressing it is core to Kenya’s economic recovery and poverty eradication.
Odinga said the government has identified generation of power from clean coal as one of the flagship projects towards attaining the Vision 2030.
“We need to pursue energy from diverse sources if we are to respond to our people’s concerns about prices of power.
Of course, we have to be responsible members of the global community by ensuring our energy is green and clean,” he said.
Odinga said that the government is expected to deliver new investments in energy to “keep the lights on and factories running” if we are to create jobs and get our people working.
“Keeping the lights on and industries running is a key priority area for Kenya going forward.
We all agree that energy is a driver of, and prerequisite for, development. Without access to modern energy, there can be no development,” he said.
The PM called for huge investments in the energy sector, and appealed for the government and private sector to work together towards this goal.
Odinga said that while the government of Korea on the development of Nuclear power is currently training a number of Kenyans, it would be better if Korean firms set up stations in Nairobi and transferred them to Kenya later.
He said Kenya has in recent years discovered a number of useful minerals including iron ore, manganese, coal and oil, but the country would not benefit from them without adequate power.
“We want to explore all options available to us in the field of energy. The minerals we have discovered form a good basis for industrialisation but they will be of no use to us if we don’t have power,” the PM said.
With iron ore deposits, the country is keen to set up steel mills urgently but that would depend on the country’s sufficiency in electricity, the PM said.
Korea’s Prime Minister said his country will lend its support, and cited the training of Kenyans on nuclear power as a sign that his country is keen to help Kenya find the right energy mix for and industrial take off.
He promised closer collaboration in the field of gas exploration and development of geothermal power.
Odinga was accompanied by Ministers Ababu Namwamba, Amason Kingi, assistant Ministers Oburu Oginga and Magerer Langat and the Managing Director of KenGen Eddy Njoroge.