Kenya plans to set up a 960MW coal-fired power plant in Kitui which will be Kenya’s second coal project after the Lamu coal plant. This is according to the treasury’s report for public-private partnership (PPP) projects which 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, says the 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 tonnes with further exploration ongoing but mining 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 it is 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 ongoing feasibility studies. Location of the proposed plant near the mining fields is expected to cut transport costs.