Monday , March 4 2024

Kenya’s $2.4bn Malindi planned power plant moved to Tanzania

A Swedish firm that wanted to construct Africa’s largest wind power plant in southern Kenya, Malindi, at a cost of US$2.4bn has relocated the investment to Tanzania, citing frustration by Kenyan authorities.

The firm’s executives said they have now switched their focus to Tanzania, which shares the Indian Ocean coastline.

VR Holding AB had last year expressed interest in building a 600-megawatt (MW) wind farm in the Indian Ocean waters bordering Ras Ngomeni in Malindi, but Ministry of Energy officials turned down the request citing lack of a framework for renewable energy projects of that scale besides low demand for electricity in the country.

The firm’s executives said they have now switched their focus to Tanzania, which shares the Indian Ocean coastline.

“We have opted to look at offshore solutions for Tanzania,” Victoria Rikede, an executive at the company said.

“Kenya is proving to be a very difficult place and besides the grid is too weak to absorb all the power produced and therefore mini-grids is the solution for now,” she added.

Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, has recently been losing mega investments to Tanzania, including a crude pipeline deal with Uganda.

Offshore wind farms are deemed more reliable than those built on land since breezes in the ocean can produce steadier power. Kenya has an installed power capacity of 2,330 megawatts but its peak demand is about 1,699 megawatts, leaving a reserve capacity of 631 megawatts.

By: Grace Kisembo

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