Kenya: Lamu’s Coal Plant Ruling, Impediment to Producing Cheap Power – Oguna

The plan to put Kenya and East Africa’s first coal plant construction on hold is a set back for the government’s quest to provide affordable energy. Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna says the Lamu Coal plant was meant to increase accessibility to cheap electricity which will eventually spur industrial growth in the country. “The coal plant was found necessary for us to be able to spur and provide energy, the many projects we have as a country will help us become a mid-income economy by the year 2030 and as a government we are also looking at enhancing improving our other sources of energy such as geothermal,” commented the government’s spokesperson. He further adds manufacturers should, however, embrace the different sources of energy which will, in turn, lead to boosting their economy.

“Most countries as of now still use coal and I also want to add many countries that have developed have used coal so countries like Kenya that are working to achieve industrial growth requirements, where people should understand that we need to put our national interest first.

Last month, the controversial Lamu project construction was stopped by the National Environment Tribunal following protests by activists and communities against its completion. The bench of five judges of the Tribunal Court led by Justice Mohammed Balala said they had observed that environmental concerns raised by locals were valid because there was no environmental impact assessment conducted. During the ruling, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and AMU Power were equally faulted for failing to conduct public participation. The ruling was a win for environmentalists who have been opposing the construction of the coal power plant, arguing that Kenya does not need coal power plants, as it has plenty of renewables.