A tea picker in Kericho County. Unilever plans to generate power for use in Kericho and Bomet counties where it runs large tea estates. [Photo/ Tony Omondi/NMG]
A tea picker in Kericho County. Unilever plans to generate power for use in Kericho and Bomet counties where it runs large tea estates. [Photo/ Tony Omondi/NMG]

Unilever Tea Kenya is the latest large industrial operation in Kenya to apply for a power generation license.

State-owned power distributor Kenya Power has been losing its industrial customers in recent years, with many opting to generate their own power to reduce costs and avoid black-outs.

Unilever’s application for the license will be made on February 8, 2022. Anyone objecting to the application or grant of the license must write to the Energy Petroleum and Regulatory Authority (EPRA) within 30 days of the application date.

The firm plans to generate power for use in Kericho and Bomet counties where it runs large tea estates.

“Unilever Tea Kenya Plc…intends to apply for a licence for the generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy for use within  its estates in the West Kenya area that encompass Kericho and Bomet counties.”

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“The electrical power will be generated, transmitted and distributed from existing power stations to be upgraded at Kimugu and Jamji Power stations located 10Km North-East and 20Km South-west of Kericho town respectively to serve the company’s installations around the said estates,” a public notice from the firm revealed.

Anyone wishing to inspect the application may do so at Unilever Tea Kenya Plc offices along the main Kericho-Nakuru road near Brooke market in Kericho County.

Unilever Tea had in May 2019 commissioned a 619 kWp solar plant in Kericho. The plant was established through a partnership between CrossBoundary Energy.

It was the first on-site solar installation for a Unilever facility in Sub-Saharan Africa. The two firms signed a 15-year power purchase agreement as part of the partnership.

Among the firms which have sought power generation licenses recently are two East African Breweries Limited (EABL) subsidiaries – Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) and East Africa Maltings – to generate their own power at two plants in Nairobi and Kisumu.

Kenya Breweries Limited expects to generate 9.3 Megawatts at its Ruaraka plant in Nairobi and 2.4 Megawatts from a solar plant in Kisumu. East African Maltings, on the other hand, plans to generate 2.2 Megawatts of electricity from a KVA generator at its Kampala Road plant.

Others include London Distillers, Williamson Tea and Garden City mall.

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