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Kenya: Olkaria residents seek stake in geothermal power project

While the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) is gearing up to commission the Olkaria V geothermal power project, residents in the area are demanding 50% representation in the project’s stakeholders’ coordination committee.

Over the weekend, the dwellers held a peaceful demonstration against the upcoming 140MW Olkaria V geothermal power project.

Local media, The Standard, reported that the occupants are accusing KenGen of giving them a “raw deal” and as such are threatening to block the commissioning of the project by President Uhuru Kenyatta next month.

Residents’ land claims

Speaking to the media, area leader Maenga Kisotu said residents gave up community land for the exploration of more geothermal energy but KenGen had failed to keep their end of the agreement.

“KenGen has refused to include the community in the stakeholders’ coordination committee despite the effects the power generation has on the community,” Kisotu said.

According to the media, the sentiments were echoed by another leader, Mwangi Sululu, who claimed that an earlier Memorandum of Understanding between the community and the power generating company had been ignored.

“Before this project we were relocated to an area that has no water, pasture for our animals and the roads are impassable,” Sululu said.

Responding to the allegations, KenGen denied the accusations, saying a stakeholders’ coordination committee was addressing all the issues raised by the pastoralists, media reported.

Geothermal power

In Q2 of 2016, it was reported that Japan’s deputy ambassador, Mikio Mori, confirmed that the procurement phase for the Olkaria V geothermal power project was complete and that construction is expected to commence soon.

In a separate statement, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) awarded KenGen with the 2016 Presidential award for its flagship green energy project, Olkaria I Units 4 and 5.

It was reported that the Olkaria I Units 4 and 5 were among eight projects and five individuals that were recognised in 2016.

Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.