, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – Amu Power Company says it requires at least 870 acres of land in Lamu County for the construction of the 981.5 Megawatts coal project.
The company which is joint venture between Gulf Energy and Centum Investment says it is working closely with the government to ensure that the land is acquired in time.
Gulf Energy Managing Director Francis Njogu they are looking forward to have the process of land acquisition complete before October this year, when the construction is slated to kick off.
“We are tenants of the government. So the land owner needs to provide us free marketable title to the land. The compensation process is supposed to be the role of the land owner. But we are working with the relevant government agencies to identify the people who are there because it is in our interest to make sure the community is very satisfied,” Njogu said.
The plant will to be set up in Manda area in Lamu County at a cost of approximately Sh180billion ($2billion).
“We are working closely with the people of Lamu, their local leaders, regulators, governmental agencies and administrators at all levels to ensure that we comply with all laws and regulations,” Njogu said.
The coal power plant will be the largest private sector led infrastructure project in East and Central Africa and which is expected to be operational within 21 months after the construction begin.
Amu was awarded the tender to set up the plant following a call for bids by the government for a private developer, to build, own and operate it for a period of 25 years.
The investments include building the power plant, a jetty, as well as a modern housing complex for at least 300 workers.
“We are pleased at being given the opportunity by the Kenyan government to set up a power generation company to produce such a significant portion of Kenya’s power needs within the next 3 years,” Njogu said.
The firm is currently conducting an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, a critical first step to the project and in line with the African Development Bank’s Integrated Safeguard System.
At least 1,000 jobs will be created during the construction phase. The firm says it has already shared the skills required with the government and local leaders with recommendation for courses required.
In the initial years the power station will utilise coal imported from South Africa but will later be sourced locally when Kenya has sufficient supply.