A local firm is looking to build an eight-megawatt power plant in Homa Bay County using water hyacinth from Lake Victoria.
Homa Bay Biogas One Ltd is seeking approval from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to set up the plant at Kobala, where it hopes to exploit the resilient waterweed that periodically engulfs much of the lake by transforming it into biogas.
“Homa Bay Biogas One Ltd will on November 23 make an application for the electric power generation licence,” said the firm in a notice published yesterday.
The firm will sign a power purchasing agreement with Kenya Power with the hope of offloading the additional electricity into the national grid.
“The company will undertake the operation of an 8MW biogas power plant at Kobala in Homa Bay County for the generation of electricity by utilising parasitic water hyacinth overgrowing Lake Victoria.”
This marks the latest attempt to turn around the adverse effects of water hyacinth that covers large portions of the lake from time to time, hampering fishing and navigation for small boats and big vessels.
The invasive weed has cut off large parts of Lake Victoria, which straddles Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
Power purchase deal
Earlier this year, a UK firm announced the close of a financing deal of Sh25 billion for a 35MW plant to be set up in the county to transform the weed into biogas.
Once completed, the project will be the largest biogas electricity plant on the continent.
Last year, independent power producer Biojoule Kenya signed a power purchase agreement with Kenya Power, allowing the former to offload 2MW into the national grid.
Earlier this year, the firm launched operations on its Gorge Farm Energy Part plant, making it Africa’s first biogas electricity producer to be linked to the national grid.