Story by Save Lamu/Khadija Juma
“I am not of today my child, I am from long ago. I saw the world smiling and laughing, today the world is crying” Such are the words of Mahmoud Hamid popularly known as Tike who is 84+ years old. He says them as he stares blankly at nothing in particular as if to recall the days that were.
One of the reasons that he gives for his statement is the current absurd economy. Everything is expensive nowadays, he explains, Tike goes ahead and explains how one can hardly afford a living in the recent days, compared to the life they lived back then, during the good old days.
Reflecting on his words and the current state of affairs one of the major things seen is, BILLS! BILLS! BILLS! The nightmare putting everyone in a frenzy, running helter skelter, up and down in an attempt to make ends meet.
Electricity is almost the nucleus of the day to day running of activities and living life. Electricity can easily be described as the backbone of our economy for without it, everything comes to a stand still, a complete paralysis.
Kenya generates about 2350MW, however the consumption of the whole Country is at about 1800MW. We have an excess of about 550MW that is generated annually and is still paid for by every Kenyan though not consumed. The excess amount being generated is usually reflected in the monthly electricity bills that we pay. We are already paying for more than we use, and in this transaction, it is the citizens kitty that hurts and the power companies’ wallets that fatten for their product is assured to sell regardless of demand. They keep supplying absent demand which beats the physics of economics. It is the equivalent of paying for shoes (goods) that you do not need, do not wear and do not own, month in month out.
The intended coal power plant is a 1050MW project. This is excess electricity to be generated that we do not need as a Country let alone as a County but are still going to pay for. There are several Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and all usually sign Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with KPLC. These PPAs ensure the producers payment regardless of whether the plants produce electricity or not!(hence the high cost of electricity). In the Power Purchase Agreement between Amu Power and Kenya Power & Lightning Company, Amu power is set to make ksh 37 Billion annually whether or not the plant generates electricity. This is money that will come out of Kenyans pockets. The coal (poison) plant is not only a Lamu problem, but a Kenya problem!
And in the fight against the coal power plant, their are alternatives that can be used to generate power in Kenya, an instance being Geothermal power plant, wind power, solar energy and Hydroelectricity plant, apparently Tanzania is going to be the first Country in East Africa to have that kind of plant. RENEWABLE ENERGY IS THE FUTURE!