Kenya court blocks East Africa's first coal plant 

phys.org | 6/19/2019 | Staff
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Kenya's environment court blocked Wednesday the construction of a coal-fired power station on the country's idyllic Indian Ocean coast, in a move hailed as a major victory by campaigners fighting a years-long battle against the scheme.

The fossil-fuel project—the first of its kind in East Africa—has outraged activists, who say clean renewable sources are becoming ever cheaper and note that Kenya already derives much of its energy from hydro and thermal.

Government - Initiative - Venture - Kenyan - Firm

The government argues the $2-billion (1.7-billion-euro)initiative, a Chinese-financed venture between a Kenyan firm and Oman's Gulf Energy, will help secure energy needs, spur growth and create jobs in one of Kenya's least developed areas.

But the location is the pristine Lamu archipelago, which boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site and vibrant marine life and lives off fishing and tourism—both industries that locals say will be devastated.

Kenya - National - Environmental - Tribunal - Favour

Kenya's National Environmental Tribunal ruled in favour of activists who said there had been insufficient public participation in the awarding of a licence to build the plant.

Judge Mohammed Balala "set aside" a previous decision granting a licence to developers Amu Power.

Impact - Assessment - Project - Company - Days

He ordered them to carry out a fresh environmental impact assessment if they wished to continue the project. The company was given 30 days in which to appeal.

'Justice at last'

Activists - Court

Activists cheered and embraced outside the court.

"Justice is served at last," said Omar Elmawi, campaign coordinator from the deCOALonize movement.

Place - Coal - Kenya - Energy - Way

"We still maintain that there is no place for coal in Kenya and we are adamant that renewable energy is the only way to go, the only way to develop."

According to research by Greenpeace, emissions from the 981-megawatt plant would increase air pollution and cause acid rain, while a cooling system which pumps warmed water back into the ocean could threaten marine life and coral reefs.

Carbon - Dioxide - Emissions - Plants - Contribution

Carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired plants are also a major contribution to global warming—the...
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