5 March 2013 – Construction of the 1,000 km Kenya-Ethiopia power line is scheduled to begin before the end of 2013, according to the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company. Apart from the transmission line, converter stations will be erected at Wolayta-Sodo (Ethiopia) and Suswa (Kenya), with a power transfer capacity of up to 2,000 MW.
The project that will link Kenya and Ethiopia’s power grids has received all the required funding. Construction will take an estimated 36 months to be completed, which means it should be operational by 2017.
Ethiopia has a more stable power output and its power is also cheaper than Kenya’s. Kenya hopes the project will lead to lower energy costs and attract more investors. A Kenyan government study on the least-cost power development plan by the ministry of energy has recognised that power imports from neighbouring countries are cost effective. The integration of the power systems will enable Kenya to tap into Ethiopia’s massive hydro-power resources, and enable Ethiopia to sell its surplus electricity to Kenya.
The US$1.26 billion cross-border power line will be financed by the two governments, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the French Agency for Development.
Plans are also in place to establish a new 127 km transmission line between Lesos and Tororo to link the power grids of Kenya and Uganda. Work on this project is expected to begin in April 2013.