Centum Investments insists that the Lamu coal plant project is still on track despite protestations from environmentalists and residents, a court injunction, and setbacks of major financiers pulling out.
The company is the biggest shareholder in the would be Kenya’s first coal plant with a 51 percent stake in the Amu Power consortium that is spearheading the project. Other stakeholders include Gulf Energy, with debt and financing led by Chinese firms.
“So far there are only two things that are pending: the environmental impact assessment (EIA) licence and the partial risk guarantees that the government will give the lenders of the project,” said Mr James Mworia, the CEO of Centum. He spoke during the Centum investor briefing and release of the half-year financial results for 2019/2020.
Major setbacks for Lamu coal plant
The African Development Bank (AfDB) pulled back from funding the plant in November saying it has no plans to finance new coal plants in future.
A court revoked the environmental impact assessment licence for the plant in June 2019 and the Centum has appealed to the High Court to rescind the decision, according to the Centum CEO.
A local environmental tribunal is also against the coal plant citing the impact of fossil fuels and the fact that the Amu Power project is being developed next to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The European Investment Bank, the financing arm of the European Union, plans to stop financing fossil fuel projects and urged Kenya to pursue renewable energy instead.
Not a lost cause for Centum in pursuit of fossil fuels
Mr Mworia said that Centum had so far spent KES 2.2 billion on the coal power plant and remained optimistic that the project will eventually be awarded an environmental licence to ensure it can proceed as scheduled. The Lamu power plant is projected to produce 1,050 MW should it succeed.