Since 2013, the Government of Kenya has laid out plans to develop a 1,050 MW coal-fired electricity plant, the first coal powered plant in Kenya.

The plant’s location is along mangrove forests at the mouth of an inlet rich in prawns, crabs and fish. The area is a traditional fishing ground for a number of the more than 3,000 artisanal fisher folk in Lamu County. Local community members have traditionally used this land for their farms during the planting seasons for generations but lack title deeds for their farms.

Save Lamu has been advocating against the project citing various social, economic, and environmental concerns. It has carried out several meetings, protests, lobbying, workshops to lobby and raise awareness on the impacts of the project. The organization is currently partnering with other national and international partners under the banner of “deCOALonize” to campaign for alternatives to coal and embracing clean energy in Kenya.

Residents hold placards as they march in a protest against Kenyan government plans to build East Africa’s first coal plant near the coastal town of Lamu, December 6, 2016. Abdallah Barghash/Thomson Reuters Foundation

Our concerns include:

    • Significant environmental impacts – ?  The coal plant will result in a discharge of waste water at significantly higher temperatures back into the ocean. The EIA Report fails to properly analyse what this will mean for the marine life in the ocean and proposed technology such as the once-through cooling system, without sufficient mitigation measures. The project will not reuse coal combustion products (CCPs) and will instead dump the waste into an ash yard. This will cause significant air and water pollution, which the project proponent fails to adequately mitigate.
    • The Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) is incomplete – yet the license has been given, but the communities are yet to be resettled or compensated as required by the African Development Bank Standards (the AfDB is one of the project’s funders). The firm selected to do the RAP was not subject to a competitive bidding process, contrary to laws on public procurement.
    • There was a lack of proper public participation- initial scoping consultations were done before the project was fully developed. After these scoping studies, certain components of the project changed and the public was never consulted about this. Additionally, key groups such as fishermen were not consulted in detail.
    • Poor analyses of alternatives -?  The EIA Report poorly analysed other alternatives of energy to generate or improve its production, presenting a heavily biased examination of alternatives (wind, water, solar and geothermal) and the economic justifications.
    • Lack of transparent information -?  The EIA Report introduces new project components that are not analyzed for their impacts, including a new dedicated coal berth at the Lamu Port, a 15km conveyor belt from the port to the project site, and a 2000-acre limestone concession. None of these are analyzed in the EIA Report.