Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have invited bids for a consultant to oversee a feasibility study for high voltage power lines to connect these east African countries. This transmission project is part of efforts to meet growing demand for electricity and deepen integration of the region’s economies.

The tender announcement indicates that the project aims to build a 400 kilovolt (kV) electricity line running from Olkaria, where Kenya is expanding geothermal power production, via Uganda to Birembo in Rwanda.

The three nations, with a combined population of more than 94 million and all members of the five-nation East African Community, are battling to keep up with demand for power as their economies grow by about 5 per cent per annum or more.

The feasibility study will examine power needs and potential for export and imports until 2035, as well as assess designs and other details of the project. Businesses in these countries will welcome the project as the high voltage transmission lines will provide a stable and secure supply of energy and potentially bring down the current costs.

Kenya is tapping geothermal resources in the Rift Valley as part of its broader ambitions to add 5,000 megawatts (MW) to the east Africa nation’s electricity output by 2017. This will add to Kenya’s existing capacity of about 1,664 MW. In addition to increasing generation capacity, Kenya plans to add 5,000 km of power lines to its existing 3,800 km network by 2017.