High court rules in favor of clean power, works on sh. 14bn transmission line resume
BY MOVINCE ODUOR
The High Court of Kenya has made a ruling to lift orders that brought works on the sh. 14bn Nairobi-Mombasa power transmission line to a standstill.
Five land owners had initially filed a case to stop the Ministry of Energy and the project’s contractors from proceeding with the construction of the line which passed on their land. The five petitioners are Golden Lane Ltd, David Ramogi, David Ntayia, Nampee Pushati and Grace Shabaan. Orders to halt works on the power line were issued by Judge George Odunga on December 22, 2016.
High Court Judge John Mativo has ruled that the construction of the line should go on and directed that the case be transferred to the Environment and Land Court for further hearing. “I allow the preliminary objection and direct that this file be transferred to the Environment and Land Court for further hearing and determination,” ruled Justice John Mativo.
Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter said the nod to go on with the project is most welcome since the ministry is committed to ensure the transmission line is complete on time. “We hope to finish this project by June. With geothermal power in Mombasa, we will switch off some of the diesel plants there,’’ Mr. Charles said.
The power line once complete will supply cheap power in Nairobi and Mombasa.
According to the CS, the land petition had created a backlog of energy projects on their schedule. “By delaying this project, these people have held the economy to ransom,” he remarked.
Kalpataru Power, Mumbai-based power contractor will complete the sh.14bn project by June. The power line will supply clean, cheaper energy for residents of Mombasa who have been for a long time depended on expensive diesel plants and thermal fuels. Once the line is commissioned, the costly diesel power generators Kipevu I and Kipevu III which produce 73.5 megawatts and 120 megawatts respectively will be shut down to allow for cheaper steam energy from the Olkaria project.
An aerial view of Olkaria geothermal power plant. It is the largest geothermal station in Kenya.
The power transmission line will be of great significance to Kenya’s ambition of achieving a countrywide access to electricity. The line will improve power system stability, reliability and reduce technical losses and play a major role in the regional power trade.