Kenya losses malindi power plant to Tanzania

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Africa’s largest wind power plant- Malindi power ,earmarked for Kenya’s coastline has been moved to neighboring Tanzania. The project estimated to cost of Sh253 billion has been relocated  citing frustration by Kenyan authorities.

The Swedish firm – VR Holding AB had last year expressed interest in building a 600-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Malindi but Ministry of Energy officials turned down the request citing lack of a framework for renewable energy projects of that scale besides low demand for electricity in the country.

They are yet to do so,” said Isaac Kiva, the director of renewable energy at the ministry said. The company last year submitted an expression of interest to build a 600-megawatt wind project in the Indian Ocean waters bordering Malindi.

The ministry officials, however, turned down the request, citing a lack of framework for renewable energy projects of that scale amid fears a plant of that size could have put pressure on electricity bills.

Analysts reckon that a huge power plant would leave Kenya with excess power that will see consumers pay billions of shillings annually for electricity not used — dimming the quest to deliver cheaper power through renewable energy such as solar.

The Malindi offshore location was identified by the World Bank, according to the Swedish firm’s executives. They put the cost of generating electricity from the offshore wind farm at €3.5 million (Sh423 million) per megawatt. The 600 megawatt offshore wind park would cost a total of Sh253.8 billion, in what would be the single most expensive private-funded project in East Africa.

Ms Rikede, however, did not wish to disclose the consortium behind the inconclusive venture. In rejecting the mega power plant, the ministry vouched for a phased implementation that brings power on stream gradually, in tandem with growth in demand.

“Wind is an intermittent power source and, therefore, we cannot approve such a big plant in one location since it will come with huge costs tied to power supply reliability and transmission,” Mr Kiva had said earlier.