Perspective No. 31: The Impacts on the Community of the Proposed Coal Plant in Lamu: Who, if Anyone, Benefits from Burning Fossil Fuels?
In 2013, the Government of Kenya proposed the construction of a 1,050-megawatt coal plant in Lamu County. It would be the first coal-fired generation plant in Kenya, and the first in East Africa. The proposal for a coal plant was curious because Kenya has more than enough current capacity and potential for renewable energy generation to not only meet current electricity demands, but also to meet and exceed the projected demands through 2030. The proposed coal plant in Lamu not only tells the story of a growing economy turning to an outdated environmentally destructive means of energy production, but also illustrates the plight of indigenous peoples and local communities, and the threat to their land, livelihoods and culture from unnecessary industrial development.