The Government of Kenya has indicated in detailed government documents its intent to build a 960 MW coal plant in Kitui. Although barely publicly mentioned and with little sign of progress, the Kitui coal plant project profile continues to appear in official documents from multiple government ministries and cannot be ignored.
The project is described as “a 960MW Coal fired power plant, located on the eastern side of Mui Basin, in Kitui County, via an IPP framework.” The project value is listed as $1.8 billion (USD), to come from private funding. Its cost and size would be equivalent to the proposed Lamu coal plant.
One media reported noted that “Chinese company HCIG Energy Investment Company with Liketh Investments Kenya Ltd won rights to develop the rest of the [coal mining] area and coal fired plant in 2015,” following a 2011 coal mining allocation to Fenxi Mining.
Government plans for Kitui coal plant
Most recently, in 2019, the Treasury’s public-private partnership disclosure report states that the “project is in abeyance, pending further guidance from the Contracting Authority, the Ministry of Energy & Petroleum (MoE&P).”
The developer of Lamu coal plant, Amu Power, in 2018 also cited the plan for a coal-fired power plant in Kitui as well as Lamu.
The June 2018 Treasury status report on public-private partnerships listed the Kitui coal plant, according to media coverage.
The most recent government power development plan, published in June 2018, lists Kitui coal plant and detailed parameters as well. In discussing potential Kitui coal mining, the report notes, “Coal power plant based on domestic coal could be developed directly near the Mui Basin in Kitui County once the mine is developed.”
The coal plant was also listed in an October 2015 International Finance Corporation report “Aligning Kenya’s Financial System with Inclusive Green Investment”, referencing the Treasury’s PPPUnit disclosure website for Public-Private Partnerships (although the disclosure site wasn’t officially launched until 19 June 2018, and was taken down in early 2019).
In July 2017, consulting firm timetric listed a “Kitui Coal-Fired Power Plant 960 MW — Kenya” Construction Project Profile, in which the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoEP) is listed as project owner and planning authority. As of 2017 “study activities are underway”, the “tender for construction contract dated 2018”, and “construction estimated for Q4 2019 to end Q4 2021”.