Producers in Biggest Black Tea Exporter Kenya Seek Solar Developers
(Bloomberg) -- Tea producers in Kenya, the world’s largest exporter of the black variety of the leaves, plan to boost their use of renewable energy with new solar and hydropower output.
KTDA Power Co., a unit of Kenya Tea Development Agency, is seeking contractors for hydro-power plants able to produce as much as 10 megawatts, the agency said in a statement in the Nairobi-based Standard newspaper. The projects are at various stages of development, including four that are operational and seven under construction, it said.
“The power generated from these hydro plants will be exported to the shareholders’ tea-processing factories and to the grid under signed power purchase agreements,” according to the statement.
Small and large tea producers in Kenya are turning to independent renewable power to cut reliance on the national grid -- which exposes them to price volatility -- and reduce their environmental footprint. In 2019, Unilever Tea Kenya commissioned a 619 kWp solar plant at its factory in Kericho county in the Kenyan Rift Valley.
The agency concluded a solar study at 29 factories and is now seeking power-plant developers for units with an output capacity of as much as 1 megawatt, it said in a separate statement on Wednesday. “The intention is to aggregate between five and 10 projects, which the successful independent power producer will then develop,” according to the statement.
Power producers have until March 30 to submit expressions of interest for the solar and hydropower projects.
KTDA, which accounts for about 60% of Kenya’s tea output, has 14 hydropower plants at various stages of implementation, according to its latest annual report. It processes and markets leaf for more than 630,000 small-holder farmers.
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