KENYA: cement manufacturer Bamburi to equip its plants with two solar PV plants

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Solar energy for Bamburi cement plants in Kenya

Bamburi Cement, the subsidiary of the Franco-Swiss group LafargeHolcim, has signed a power purchase agreement with Momnai Energy. The cement manufacturer will equip its Mombasa and Nairobi plants with two solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants totalling 19.5 MWp.

Bamburi Cement is going green. The Kenyan subsidiary of the Franco-Swiss group LafargeHolcim is banking on solar energy to reduce its ecological footprint through a partnership with the independent power producer (IPP) Momnai Energy. The two partners have also signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) under which Bamburi will buy electricity from Momnai Energy to power two of its plants in Kenya.

IPP will build two solar power plants near Bamburi’s factories in Mombasa on the Kenyan coast, East and in the capital city of Nairobi. Located at the Mombasa site, the larger solar plant will have a capacity of 14.5 MWp. The other solar plant will have a capacity of 5 MWp and will be used to power the Nairobi plant. Bamburi estimates that this combined capacity should meet 40% of the electricity needs of its two plants.

An asset for the reduction of CO2 emissions

According to the agreement signed between the two parties, Momnai Energy will finance all costs related to the project, including the development, management, operation and maintenance of the solar photovoltaic plants. For its part, Bamburi will provide land for the solar power plants. And its factories in Nairobi and Mombasa have such facilities. The cement company will simply pay an electricity bill to Momnai Energy.

Read also- KENYA: Bamburi Cement relies on biomass to reduce production costs

“The move to solar power will help us meet key objectives of our sustainability program, including reducing the carbon footprint of our operations, reducing costs and meeting Holcim’s commitment to carbon neutrality with the Science Based Targets (SBTi) initiative. We will also be able to meet our commitments under the climate change agreement signed at COP 21,” explains Seddiq Hassani, Bamburi’s CEO.

Biomass in parallel

The company, which employs more than 800 people, should still obtain the approval of the Kenyan authorities in charge of regulating the electricity sector before launching the work on the solar power plants at the end of 2022. The construction work is expected to last one year before the solar power plants are commissioned. This is not the first time Bamburi has implemented an initiative to reduce its emissions.

The company also relies on biomass, a process in which waste is incinerated to produce heat, which is then recovered to generate electricity. By 2019, Bamburi was generating 12 percent of its electricity in Kenya from biomass. This solution is also being deployed in Uganda, where its local subsidiary Hima Cement powers its plants with 70% biomass-based electricity.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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