A storm is brewing over the Sh 21 billion KenWind Power project in Lamu after it has emerged the project owners want to renegotiate land compensation on 1,294 hectares of land in the Baharini village where the wind farm is to be located.
Speaking to KNA last Monday, KenWind Energy Country Manager Susan Nandwa revealed that her company was under pressure to review the compensation figure due to the reduction in tariff payment rates for power suppliers imposed by the Energy Regulatory Commission.
“The national government has already revised the payment rate to Sh 7 per KvHa down from Sh 12 KvHa and we may not break even at this rate if the new rate is upheld,” Nandwa lamented.
The wind farm to be built in Lamu County will have a capacity of 90 MW. It will be located on 1,294 hectares of land in the Baharini village, 20 km west of Lamu Port.
Thanks to the winds brought in by the Indian Ocean, the 38 wind turbines of the park will rotate.
The electricity produced by the installation will be evacuated via a 220 kV high-voltage line over 323 kilometres, connecting Lamu to Rabai, in Kilifi County.
She said the project is already behind schedule due to the court cases between KenWind Energy and Cordison International and which has affected the commencement of the project.
A Malindi High Court earlier this year ruled in favour of KenWind Energy over Cordison International’s claim for land rights to the 1,294-acre land on which the project will be set up.
Nandwa also said that she will engage talks with Baharini Village elders together with local leaders in a bid to find a solution for all parties.
“Am already in talks with the county commissioner and the governor and we also have the support of the county assembly for the project to proceed, however unless we can find a way around which we can ensure the farmers get their due and we also make a profit, we will continue to have a problem,” Nandwa stated.
However, farmers in Baharini village who will be affected once the project takes off, have remained adamant that they will not accept a figure less than what was agreed upon.
Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama has stated that he will only remain on the side of the project if KenWind Energy agrees to fairly compensate the affected farmers.
“For us it appears as if KenWind Energy is stalling the compensation, and are already looking for a shortcut out of the agreement with the Baharini village farmers,” Muia Mutai, a villager from Baharini intimated.
However, Nandwa has maintained that KenWind has no interest in shortchanging Lamu residents, adding that there are a lot of dynamics that go towards setting up a wind power plant one of which are the tariffs which she said might affect considerations over the viability of the project in the long run.
By Amenya Ochieng