In Summary
  • The world is moving away from coal power to clean energy due to the inherent environmental risks of the former.

Kenya’s growth depends on efficient infrastructure.

This is the reason the government has invested heavily in infrastructure development, especially in the past two decades.

However, experience has shown that infrastructure projects have become conduits for looting taxpayers’ funds.

They have become a veritable source of public debt which, unfortunately, cannot be justified because most of them are unprofitable and unsustainable.

This provides the background for discussion on the proposed Lamu Coal Power Station, a project estimated to cost a whopping Sh900 billion.

If implemented as conceived, it would stand out as one of the most expensive projects ever in Kenya — dwarfing even the standard gauge railway, whose phase one was completed two years ago at Sh327 billion but which cannot repay its costs.

CLEAN ENERGY

As we reported on Tuesday, independent experts, US-based Institute for Energy Economics, have raised the alarm over the viability of the project, and for very good reasons.

First, the cost is just astronomical and the terms of the contract prohibitive.

The overall estimated capacity of the project is 981 megawatts, for which the taxpayers are expected to pay Sh900 billion for 25 years, with a clause providing that the government has to pay whether or not the plant is operational and supplying power.

In effect, the government’s hands are practically tied at the back.

Second is the value of the project. The world is moving away from coal power to clean energy due to the inherent environmental risks of the former.

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