Cancelled Kenyan power plant sinks SA exports

Prospective coal exports from South Africa to Kenya - which doesn’t have reserves of its own of the fossil resource - have fallen through because of environmental activism.

This comes as an industrial development exercise that would have seen Kenya invest in coal-fired energy supply had the plug pulled on it after the country’s National Environmental Tribunal (NET) ruled against the building of a new power station on a world heritage site.

Construction of the China-backed power station near the northern coastal city of Lamu was imminent but the infrastructural upgrade was halted after anti-coal pressure group DeCOALize intervened.

Although the project had been approved by Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), DeCOALize successfully lobbied the NET to halt the plant, claiming that an impact assessment of the earmarked site prior to the project’s approval had not been executed properly.

DeCOALize said that for a country that had signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, the power station would have increased Kenya’s greenhouse emissions by 700%, threatening the health of residents in the immediate vicinity and substantially expanding the East African nation’s carbon footprint.

The Lamu facility would have added 1050 megawatts to Kenya’s grid.

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