Source: The Star
The Energy Regulatory Commission has rescinded a power generation license for a Sh200 billion coal plant in Lamu county.
Amu Power – a consortium of Gulf Energy and Centum Investment – was to be set up in Kwasasi.
On Monday, the ERC sent a letter to Amu Power’s chief operations officer Cyrus Kirima and copied it to NGO Save Lamu Natural Justice and the county government. ERC director general Joseph Ng’ang’a said it received a complaint from SLNJ on October 28 calling for the licence revocation.
The ERC said Amu Power failed to fulfil conditions to obtain the Environmental Impact Assesment licence from the National Environmental Management Authority.
The letter also stated that an objection from one department of the county government of Lamu was withdrawn by a different department on the basis of the EIA license referred above.
Pursuant to regulations 8-10 of the Energy (Electricity Licensing) Regulations, 2012,the commission intends to hold a public hearing to deal with the objections on November 24 at an unspecified venue.
Consequently,consideration of the application for the license has been put on hold until the objections are determined.
This comes just a day after a coalition of 35 Lamu community groups launched complaints at the National Environmental Tribunal-NET to challenge the decision by NEMA to grant the Lamu Coal Power plant a project license.
Save Lamu said that most residents do not understand what the project is all about including its merits and demerits.
According to the National Liaison officer of Save Lamu Omar Almawy,residents have not been provided enough time to go through the EIA report that was released three months ago and give their opinion.
In a press statement the group claims that the law was broken since a public hearing was deliberately set up before comments were sub mitted.
“There is a lack of a resettlement action plan to date and the failure by the EIA report to properly analyze the impact of marine life, poor analysis of other alternatives of energy and the introduction of new project components in the EIA such as the 15 km conveyor belt and a 2000 acre limestone concession is worrying,” said Almawy.
Lamu leaders had previously requested for more time to go through the EIA report on the proposed Sh. 200 billion Lamu Coal power project.
They argued that the three month period was not enough and appropriate for residents to be taken through the 1800 page report and make an informed decision and requested for 90 more days.
Players in the Tourism and Fisheries department said that the project would wipe out the entire ocean and land ecosystem rendering many people jobless.
They also said the health implication of the project will also have far reaching irreversible damages.
“Why is the government keen to implement something that every other country in the world is against,” one of those present at the press conference asked.
The establishment of the coal fired power plant had previously been given a lifeline after the National Land Commission (NLC) granted Amu power, the company behind the project land rights.
The plant is to be set up on a 985 acres of land and is expected to generate 981.5 megawatts of electricity once complete
The EIA report also led to the resignation of a top county official who voiced her opposition to the controversial project.
Immediate former Trade, Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources Executive Samia Omar resigned after she observed that the coal plant might be harmful to the environment.
“Having read the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the Lamu Coal Power Plant, I am convinced that the project will have irreversible and profound impact on Lamu,” she said while announcing her resignation.