KETRACO Projects on course despite challenges with wayleaves
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The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO), which is a government agency mandated to build, operate and maintain the national grid and regional interconnections; is on course to complete 5000 kms of high voltage transmission lines by 2018 despite facing challenges of wayleave acquisition across the country.
The Ag. Managing Director, FCPA Fernandes Barasa says that the company is handling over 35 mega projects that will see Kenya’s high voltage grid above 132kV increase from only 3300kms in 2008 to 8300 kms in 2018 and eventually 18,300 kms by 2030.
He made the statement while briefing media in a city hotel on implementation status of projects that the utility is handling since 2008 when it was established to take over power transmission from KPLC as part of unbundling.
“Our projects largely follow four thematic areas; they are either aimed at ensuring access to power by parts of our country that have previously been off-grid; in this area we have already connected towns like Garsen, Lamu, Isiolo, Mwingi to the grid. Garissa will follow suit in less than two months. The second type of projects are aimed at strengthening the existing lines including the Nairobi Metropolitan Ring amongst others. The third type of lines are for evacuating power from generators to load centres like the Loiyangalani-Suswa, Lamu-Nairobi East, Menengai-Soilo amongst others while the fourth are regional interconnectors with Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania” said Mr. Barasa.
He reported that all KETRACO projects are geared towards transforming the energy consumption patterns of Kenya as more and more of the generated power is transmitted to the regions that most need it, allowing for the building and operating of manufacturing and processing plants that have access to reliable and affordable electricity. This will in turn make the country less reliant on imports, and offshore manufacturing and assembling plants, as well as boost the economy and create employment. KETRACO has ably supported the Government’s 5000+MW Initiative with additional projects for evacuation of power.
KETRACO was set up to ensure a robust grid system with minimal or no blackouts is attained, ensure the N+1 redundancy criteria where availability of a backup for all lines is attained, facilitate regional power trade within the East African Power Pool and beyond, lower the cost of power and ensure universal access to electricity to citizens.
Some of the major projects under implementation include; Mombasa-Nairobi Transmission Line, Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu Line, Ethiopia-Kenya Line, Lessos-Tororo (Kenya-Uganda) Line, Mwingi-Kitui-Wote-Sultan Hamud Line amongst many others.
He reported that one of the strategic projects; the Suswa – Isinya power transmission line which is critical to evacuating power from Ol Karia and Mombasa, has faced imminent delays after a few land owners stopped stringing work around Kipeto area in Kajiado County.
The 100km line which is Kenya’s second 400KV transmission line between Suswa – Isinya and which forms part of the Nairobi Ring project, has faced numerous land related obstacles leading to the contractor M/S Jyoti structures Limited to meet the deadlines set in the contract.
The line which is designed to evacuate 1500MW of power will at the initial stage facilitate the evacuation of the 280MW from Olkaria I and IV geothermal power plants which are now complete and 300MW from the proposed Lake Turkana wind plant from Suswa to Isinya in order to supply Nairobi and its environs. The line will also link the Coast region to the Western region. It is also from Isinya sub - station that the reach will later expand to as far as Tanzania through Isinya – Arusha line, and evacuate power from Ethiopia through the Ethiopia-Kenya (Eastern Electricity Highway Project) which terminates at Suswa. Efforts to broker a truce with landowers have been mediated in liaison with Ministry of Energy, National Land Commission, local leaders and there is hope that there will be a break-through soon.
A majority of KETRACO projects are flagship Vision 2030 project. This covers the 9 completed projects, about 18 under construction, 13 with completed feasibility studies and about 20 with ongoing feasibility studies. This totals to about 50 projects dedicated to meeting the Vision 2030 energy needs. These projects will power the nation’s electricity needs in industries, education, technology and innovation as well as improving everyday lives, all the while bringing down the cost of power. It is projected that by 2030. The Company will develop about 18,300km of new high voltage transmission lines at an estimated present value of Kshs. 362 Billion.
With the completion of the three regional inter-connector lines namely Kenya-Ethiopia (East Africa Electricity Highway), Kenya-Tanzania and Kenya-Uganda (Lessos-Tororo), it is envisaged that regional power trade will commence enabling the region’s industrial sector gross domestic product to raise significantly