GRIDCo
The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) has announced its intention to extend its current power transmission lines.

On Tuesday, Ketraco stated that it awarded a Chinese firm the contract to construct an interconnector power transmission line, which will empower its current lines for electricity trading beyond the East Africa regional borders.

According to a company statement, the contract has been given to North China Power Engineering Company Ltd (NCPE).

Ketraco said the Kenyan electricity grid will be linked to the Southern African Power Pool providing opportunities for power trade between East and Southern African Power Pool countries.

“This will be accomplished through the implementation of the Kenya – Tanzania interconnector.

“With a capacity to transfer 2,000MW in either direction, the interconnector will have positive impacts on the development of renewable sources of energy in Kenya and Tanzania because the interconnected system of both countries will result in a larger, more stable system,” the company statement explained.

Electricity trading line

According to the power transmission firm, the interconnection will also decrease power reserve capacity to be installed as it will enable the sharing of power with the Southern African Power Pool.

The Southern African power pool consists of Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The Kenya – Tanzania interconnector project involves the construction of about 510km of High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) transmission line from Kenya to Tanzania, the extension of Isinya (Kenya) and Singida (Tanzania) substations as well as construction of the Arusha substation.

On Kenya’s side, it involves the construction of 96km of 400kV transmission line from Isinya substation to the Namanga boarder and the extension of the 400/220kV Isinya substation.

The Tanzanian part will involve the construction of a 414km 400kV transmission line from Namanga boarder to Singida, construction of the 400kV Arusha substation as well as the extension of the 220/33kV Singida substation.

Power line to substitute thermal energy

Ketraco further highlighted that the project will substitute the costly thermal energy with less costly geothermal and hydro energy, as well as increase revenue by monetising the unused optic fiber telecommunication channels strung on the transmission towers.

Ketraco’s managing director and CEO, Fernandes Barasa, commented: “Together with the completion of the Ethiopia – Kenya and the Lessos – Tororo lines, this regional interconnector, power evacuator and system strengthening line will certainly facilitate East and Southern African Power Pool exchange when Kenya and Rwanda receive 400MW and 200MW respectively in 2017 from Ethiopia.”

The construction of the project has been slated to take 22 months for completion from commencement date.

The interconnector project is being jointly financed by the Government of Kenya to the value of Kshs. 439 million ($4 million) and the African Development Bank to the value of $22 million.

The Tanzania component is estimated to cost approximately $258 million. The total cost of the project is estimated at $309 million.