Kenya’s Energy Cabinet Secretary Hon. Charles Keter commissioned the 220/66kV Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) substation located at the city centre on Monday.

The substation is part of the Nairobi City Centre Network Upgrade and Reinforcement Project that is aimed at improving the flexibility of the power distribution system in Nairobi.

Kenya Power noted in a statement that the project is being implemented by TBEA of China at a cost of KShs.13.2 billion ($128 million), funded by the Exim Bank of China through a twenty-year concessional loan.

In addition to establishment of the GIS substation, the reinforcement project also involves installation of underground cables from the 220/66kV Embakasi substation to the City Centre GIS substation and further providing a link to six other substations namely; Nairobi West, Cathedral, Muthurwa, City Square, Parklands and Likoni Road to provide alternative supply points and stabilize the power distribution system around the city.

Kenya Power’s managing director & CEO Dr. Ken Tarus, commented: “In the past five years, Kenya Power has invested heavily to enhance its network to improve the quality of power supply to its customers. The commissioning of this GIS substation is part of that investment.”

The GIS technology is more reliable and easier to operate and maintain compared to the traditional Oil Insulated Substations that also utilise more space. Thus, the newly commissioned substation will boost the quality of power supply while reducing the maintenance cost and lowering the challenges that come with overhead cables such as vandalism and interference by human activities.

The inauguration takes place a few days after the 220kV underground transmission line linking the Embakasi substation to the new GIS City Centre was commissioned allowing transfer of bulk power from the Olkaria generation plants to Nairobi’s City Centre.

“This is the longest underground cable in the country and will ensure quality power supply in the Central Business District, Parklands, Upperhill and Industrial area,” said Dr. Tarus

In addition to stabilising power supply around the city, the GIS substation will strengthen the supply capacity around Industrial Area where the bulk of customers are industries. This is a milestone for Kenya Power in its effort to support the manufacturing sector.