Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter has laid ground for the start of the construction works of a Ksh13.6 billion solar power plant to be established in Garissa County. The plant will increase clean and affordable energy services across the country.
The 50MW project whose ground-breaking ceremony is poised for December this year will be constructed on 80 hectares of land, 10km from Garissa town.
CS Keter said upon completion, the solar plant will provide clean and affordable energy to an estimated 250,000 residents in 70,000 households. “This is the largest ever solar project to be constructed in East and Central Africa. It will provide jobs to hundreds of people and improve lives of the nomadic communities in Garissa County,” said Keter.
He was addressing a Chinese delegation and stakeholders in the energy sector last week during a cocktail held at a Nairobi hotel to celebrate the completion of the preparatory for the project.
The CS said the project was part of the wider plan by the Government to ensure universal access to electricity by 2020. “The Government is working towards the exploitation of both grid and off-grid powers sources to connect power to every Kenyan,” Mr Keter said, adding that by next year, 70 per cent of Kenyans will be connected to electricity.
The Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Mr Liu Xianfa hailed the cordial relations between Kenya and China saying his country will continue to provide both financial and technical support in the development of energy infrastructure in the country.
The Majority Leader in the National Assembly and Garissa Town MP, Aden Duale said Garissa County residents welcomed the 50MW Solar Plant, adding the construction of the project in his constituency was a demonstration by the Government that it embraced equity for all Kenyans.
Other officials who attended the event included Energy Principal Secretary Dr Joseph Njoroge, the Vice Governor of Jianxi Province and China Mr Liu Changlin and the President of Jianxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Corporation (CJIC) Mr Xu Guojian.
The 50MW Garissa Solar project will be implemented by the Rural Electricity Authority (REA). During the ceremony, Eng Njoroge and Mr Xu Guojin signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the transmission of Line project.
By Moses Nyandika