Coal Power Plant in Lamu, Kenya

The kick off the construction was planned for December, 2015. Amu Power Company would build a very large power plant fuelled with South African coal. There is local and international opposition.

The kick off the construction was planned for December 7, 2015.  However in August 2016 there were still delays. The Lamu County Assembly rejected an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) report by investors on the coal-fired power plant.  The assembly wants the project owners to come up with a resettlement plan for residents who will lose their land to the project. The plant is to be set up at Kwasasi in Hindi by Amu Power Company. So far, 600 land owners expected to be affected. (Daily Nation 10 Aug. 2016). Amu Power Company, which was formed by Gulf Energy, Centum Investments and Power Construction Corporation of China, had planned the 981.5-megawatt plant – Kenya's first ever coal project. Lamu coal-fired power plant is part of the government's plans to generate 1,920MW of electricity from coal by December 2017. The conflict - Nr 1. Kenya has no coal and wish to import from South Africa. Using foreign coal Instead of sun, wind energy just because is cheaper; - 2. Lamu Area is a untouched nature paradise, the population lives from soft tourism, fishing and agriculture which can be totally destroyed by the pollution caused by a coal plant.- We also fear the desalination system from the water cooling destroys the rich see life and the fine particle in the air which can effect the health of the population. 3. Locals does not want the project but they was not asked or informed, which is against the Kenya Constitution. 4. The construction will be built by Chinese, no trust in the environmental safety. 5. The local governance has no power against the multinational powers 6. The local activists tried to inform the population and call for opposition, but they have been drilled by the police. Amu faced intense hostility from activists who claim pollutants generated from coal combustion have profound effects on the health of local communities and should not be allowed in Lamu. Save Lamu, a community-based organisation, leads residents in mounting pressure on the county government to halt the project, thus throwing the Sh200 billion plant into doubt. According to an article in The Guardian, the organisation has already presented Lamu Govenor Issa Timamy with a signed petition to stop the project. The county’s head of health, Mohamed Abubakar, is hopeful that an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) will lay out how Amu Power will mitigate against the damaging effects of the plant.
Basic Data
NameCoal Power Plant in Lamu, Kenya
ProvinceLamu District
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Coal extraction and processing
Thermal power plants
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
As reported in Capital Business, Amu Power to get Lamu Title in October, September 18, 2015, by MARGARET WAHITO.
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Project Area (in hectares)350
Level of Investment (in USD)2,000,000,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population50,000-100,000, maybe more
Start Date2015
Company Names or State EnterprisesAmu Power from Kenya
Centum Investment Group from Kenya
Gulf Energy Ltd
Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina) from China
International and Financial InstitutionsIndustrial and Commercial Bank of China
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China from China
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersSave Lamu


Sierra Club

UNESCO World Heritage
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Other Health impacts
OtherRespiratory illnesses
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Displacement
OtherDisplacement of at least 600 landowners is looming as a large issue.
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNew Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.As of August 2016, the project is slowly going ahead despite strong local protests - often led by women. Relatively strong support from NGOs from outside Kenya, because Lamu is a famous tourist destination.
Sources and Materials

Capital Business, 18 Sept 2016, by Margaret Wahito
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Star, Work on Lamu coal plant set to begin in December, Sep. 19, 2015, by MARTIN MWITA
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Mediamax, Lamu coal power plant runs into headwinds, by Seth Onyango, March 08, 2016
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Anthony Langat, 3 March 2016, The Guardian. Locals oppose plans to build first coal-fired power plant in Kenya. As Kenya plans to construct its first coal-fired power plant, a group of 30 community-based organisations is fighting to halt the multibillion dollar project.
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Daily Nation, Lamu County puts coal-fired power plant on hold. Assembly demands resettlement plan for residents who will lose their land. August 10, 2016, by Kalume Kazungu
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Media Links

Lamu Power Project

This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.
Center for Media and Democracy. The Lamu Power Project is a proposed 1,050-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station in Lamu County, Kenya.
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Kenya: Lamu County Puts Coal-Fired Power Plant On Hold, 9 Aug. 2016, Daily Nation, by Kalume Kazungu
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Standard, 21 July 2016, Lamu residents get 30 days to air views on coal project, by Patrick Beja.
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From, Growing resistance to Lamu Coal Power Station, 2 May 2016
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Other Documents

Lamu County Representative Shakila Abdalla (right), flanked by the County's Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation chair Hindu Salim (2nd right), among others, adresses the media at the Island of Lamu in Lamu County on Sunday, 29th November, 2015 when she led locals in a demonstration protesting against Amu Power Company for the planned construction of a coal plant in the county, saying it was a health hazard to the locals. (PHOTO: MAARUFU MOHAMED/ STANDARD)
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Other CommentsAccording to the Sierra Club, the proposed Lamu plant does not employ the best available technology to limit pollution, and it will begin operation without Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to reduce nitrogen oxides. The proposal is also home to the World Heritage listed Lamu Old Town. A 2015 report on the area from Unesco’s World Heritage Committee stated that “[t]here can be no doubt that a project of this scale and scope, in an area as remote and protected as Lamu, cannot help but have profound negative impacts on the heritage." Both Save Lamu and another group that are campaigning on the issue, Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri), say they will take their concerns to court if the project is permitted.
Meta Information
Last update10/08/2016