Seoul, South Korea — Prime Minister, Raila Odinga has arrived in Seoul to sign a deal between Daewoo International and the Kenyan Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) for the construction of the largest power station in East Africa.
Daewoo and KenGen will soon get to work building the $1.3bn coal-fired power plant in Kilifi County. The power station will have two turbines each producing 300MW.
Kenya currently has a total installed power capacity of 1,215MW and peak demand can reach 1,150MW.
The government has identified generation of power from clean coal as one of the flagship projects towards attaining the Vision 2030.
Prime Minister Odinga said that energy remains one of the biggest threats to Kenya's dream of being Africa's hub for creativity and innovation. Scarcity of power is hampering the country's appeal as an investment destination, he said.
"Energy is vital for our everyday needs. It is one of the largest household costs... it is core to our economic recovery. We have to deliver new investment to keep the lights on and factories running if we are to create jobs and get our people working. We need to pursue energy from diverse sources if we are to respond to our people's concerns about prices of power and, of course, we have to be responsible members of the global community by ensuring our energy is green and clean and does not endanger the environment," the PM said.
"Keeping the lights on" he said, must be a key priority area for Kenya going forward.
"We all agree that energy is a driver of, and prerequisite for development. Without access to modern energy, there can be no development," Odinga said.
He said huge investments in the energy sector are needed, and the government and private sector need to work together.
"We need to mobilise resources from all available sources. The business community has a key role to play in terms of investing in the energy sector, building infrastructure, creating jobs, and developing new technologies to ensure that the energy we produce is more efficient and comes from low-carbon or renewable sources."
"This new power station will play a key role in my government's objective to add 1,500MW of new power capacity by 2019 and put an end to power cuts."
Nurturing new partnerships to develop Kenya's infrastructure has been a key objective of the Prime Minister since taking office in 2008.
During this time, Kenya has seen growth in investment which has enabled new projects to get underway, including a $300million venture from the World Bank, announced in August 2012, to develop rapid mass transport systems in Nairobi under the National Urban Transport Improvement Project (NUTRIP).
Other initiatives in the area of energy include the Paris-Nairobi Initiative that, among other things, is driving the Kerosene Free Kenya Initiative.
The PM has in the last four years struck deals with the Republic of France which has seen huge financial support for Kenya's geothermal energy sector by the French Agency for International Development.
The Prime Minister will also meet with his South Korean counterpart, Kim Hwang-sik, during the visit and promote further collaboration between Kenya and South Korea.