AfDB Director-General of the East Africa Regional office Gabriel Negatu has said that talks are in top gear to fund the construction of Lamu coal power plant in Kenya.
The deal is part of pan African bank’s New Deal on Energy where it has set aside ten billion dollars to enable the continent to achieve universal electricity access by 2025.
“The owners of the 1000 MW Lamu coal power plant have approached AfDB for funding to the tune of 100 million U.S. dollars as well as guarantees of a similar amount for the construction of the power plant,” Negatu said.
The Lamu coal power plant in Kenya is being developed by a consortium under the name Amu Power.
It includes Centum Investments, Gulf Energy, Sichuan Electric Power and Design and Consulting, China Huadian Corporation Power Operation Company and Sichuan No.3 Power Construction Company.
Amu Power has commissioned China Power Global to construct the two billion U.S. dollars power plant. AfDB typically provides funding of between 10 and 20 percent of a project.
Mr Negatu says that the decision to fund the project has been informed by it is a low-cost energy source especially given the country’s huge coal resource.
“In addition, the power plant will use the latest technology to ensure that its impact on the environment is minimal,” he added.
Mr Negatu told Xinhua in Nairobi that they were awaiting the environmental and social audits before they can release the funds.
But a community of activists in Lamu is fiercely contesting the approval of a proposed Lamu coal power plant project that they say threatens to alter their health, heritage, environment and marine system of their homeland. Lamu is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
They have come together under the Save Lamu banner, and are currently engaged in a contentious court battle between the people of Lamu and the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema).
Critics are of the opinion that if the project is allowed to forge ahead, not only will Kenya fail to reduce its current carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, as per international agreements, but will lock itself in destructive fossil fuel dependence for decades to come.
“Given the failing economics of coal, a new coal power plant in Kenya is a bad investment in a country with a favorable environment for investment in renewables,” says Vrinda Manglik a campaign representative at International Climate and Energy Campaign.