Kenya coal power plant construction delayed

NAIROBI, Sept 14 (Reuters) - A plan to start building Kenya’s first coal-fired power plant in October has been delayed as the consortium involved awaits a government plan to resettle people on the coastal site, the group’s chief executive said on Monday.

The Kenyan and Chinese venture plans to build the 1,000 megawatt (MW) plant in the east African nation that now relies heavily on renewable energy. It is part of a plan to boost Kenya’s installed capacity to about 6,700 MW by 2017 from about 2,500 MW.

Francis Njogu, chief executive of the consortium, Amu Power Company, said the group needed the National Land Commission (NLC) to finish a resettlement plan for the site before it could submit an environmental impact report, the last major hurdle.

The group originally slated October to begin construction.

“We are working closely with NLC,” Njogu told Reuters, without saying when he now expected construction to start.

The environmental impact report will be submitted to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for approval.

“As soon as they give us this, we will complete a few other small processes, then we will start. We are ready to go,” Njogu said, adding that the consortium could start construction within 60 days of receiving NEMA’s approval.

When it invited bids, the Energy and Petroleum Ministry said construction was expected to take 30 months.

The consortium, which won the contract last year, comprises Kenyan firms Centum Investment and Gulf Energy, alongside Chinese companies China Huadian Corporation Power Operation Company, Sichuan Electric Power Design and Consulting Company, and Sichuan No. 3 Power Construction Company. (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Edmund Blair)