The Kenya 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, whose contract was signed today between the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (KETRACO) and the contractor, North China Power Engineering Company Limited (NCPE).
With a capacity to transfer 2000MW 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 interconnection will also decrease power reserve capacity to be installed as it will enable the sharing of power with the Southern African Power Pool.
Furthermore, the project will substitute the costly thermal energy with less costly geothermal and hydro energy, as well as increase revenue by monetizing the unused optic fiber telecommunication channels strung on the transmission towers.
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 the 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.
Speaking during the function, KETRACO’s MD & CEO, FCPA Fernandes Barasa said that the Kenya – Tanzania interconnector project will improve power supply, reliability and affordability in Kenya from renewable surplus power from neighboring countries.
“Together with the completion of the Ethiopia – Kenya and the Lessos – Tororo lines, this regional interconnector, power evaluator, 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.” FCPA Barasa said.
The Kenyan component of the interconnector project is being financed by the Government of Kenya (GoK) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) at a cost of Kshs. 439,444,244 and USD 22,428,704 respectively. This is a split from the Tanzania component which is estimated to cost approximately USD 258. 82 million. The total cost of the project being approximately USD 309.26 million.
The construction is estimated to take 22 months from the commencement date.