In Kenya, the transmission and distribution company of solutions giant GE has supplied substation automation systems to the Nairobi Metropolitan Ring Project to help curb outages in the East African country.

GE Digital Business partnered with Spanish engineering company Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción (IIC) to build a 220 kV ring around the capital for the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) to boost grid reliability.

With much of Nairobi’s power reaching the city through one established electricity path, the goal of the Nairobi Ring Project was to provide alternative electricity paths on the grid to improve power efficiency, reliability and security, GE explains.

As part of the Nairobi Ring Project, IIC was contracted to build four new substations and upgrade one existing substation with GE supplying substation automation systems for all five locations to increase the capacity of the high voltage transmission network to support increased electricity generation and consumption.

The project also includes engineering, configuration, panels and factory and site-acceptance tests, as well as training for substation engineers to ensure reliable operation.

Preventing blackouts

Commenting on the grid modernisation upgrading work, Luis Perez, general manager, for GE’s Digital Energy business in EMEA, said: “By working with IIC, we have been able to help KETRACO provide safe and reliable power to Kenya’s largest city.”

With the introduction of new substations into their grid, KETRACO will be better able to maintain power if one of the circuits in the ring fails. Currently, with only one line, if a fault occurs it can result in major blackouts in the city.

Electrical product giant Avantha Group Company CG is also working on the Nairobi Ring project after signing a US$15 million deal in May 2014 to supply IIC with substation and automation equipment.

CG, the parent company of Spanish meter manufacturer ZIV, is delivering six 200 MVA, 220/66kv HV power transformers, circuit breakers, instrument transformers and lightning arresters for the Nairobi Ring project, which will help meet Kenya’s rising electricity demand, projected to grow at around 14 per cent per year, from 1,205 MW last year to 15,065 MW by the year 2030.