Kenya plans to set up a 960MW coal-fired power plant in Kitui and upon implementation it will be Kenya’s second coal project after Lamu coal plant. This is according to the treasury’s report for public-private partnership (PPP) projects who has flagged the power plant as among the proposed State mega undertakings.
The power plant will be situated on eastern side of Mui Basin in Kitui County via an IPP (independent power producer) framework. The Energy ministry, the contracting authority, reckons that coal project will help diversify Kenya’s power mix and drive growth.
Kenya has in recent years discovered coal deposits within the Mui Basin in Kitui, having struck more than 400 million tones with further exploration ongoing with mining is yet to begin. Electricity will be priced in the same range as geothermal power at US $7.52 per unit, almost a third of what diesel-fired plants charge on average.
Coal is mainly burnt to produce electricity as a global practice but it can also be processed as alternative petroleum as is the case in South Africa. The mining contract for a section of the Mui coal block has been awarded to Chinese firm Fenxi Mining but work is yet to take off due to the ongoing feasibility studies. Location of the proposed plant near the mining fields is expected to cut transport costs.
The earlier conceived Lamu coal plant at the Coast is slightly larger at 1,050 MW. However the plants will and also rely on imported coal from South Africa who aside from using coal to generate electricity, the country uses the mineral to produce petrol and diesel.