Kenya’s electricity companies on Friday launched 200 million U.S. dollar power project aimed at strengthening and stabilizing power supply around Nairobi.
Speaking during the launch, Kenya Power CEO Engineer Joseph Njoroge said completion of the power project dubbed Nairobi Ring Project in 2015 will enhance quality of power supply through improved voltage levels and reduced outage incidences in the City.
“The projects include construction of new substations, power lines, re-conductoring of existing lines, refurbishment of old substations and installation of a new power automation system,” he said.
Njoroge said the company has completed a total of 45 projects in different parts of the country; 17 of them in Nairobi Region.
The Nairobi Ring project is one of the solutions geared towards meeting the nation’s power demand. It is planned that for the period to 2030 the country would have added 13,370 MW through an accelerated development program.
The electricity project which is being spearheaded by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) with support from Kenya Power, involves construction of a 100 kilometre 400 kV double circuit line from Suswa substation in Nakuru County to Isinya substation in Kajiado County in the outskirts of Nairobi.
Through the Suswa and Isinya substations power can then be transferred to and from other parts of the country such as the future Konza ICT city and even to neighbouring countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, D.R.Congo and Ethiopia thereby realising the dream of regional power trade.
KETRACO is currently undertaking new transmission line projects aimed at developing a robust grid system to improve quality and reliability of electricity supply throughout the country by ensuring adequate evacuation capacity.
The transmission line projects are also aimed at reducing the cost of electricity to the consumer by absorbing the capital cost of transmission lines since they will be fully funded by the National government.
The electricity industry in Kenya has been facing major challenges of constrained supply and limited transmission capacity leading to high losses in the transmission and distribution network, inadequate access especially in rural areas, low reliability and high costs of power.
To address these and other challenges that have impended growth of the industry and development of the country at large, the company has committed to build a robust national grid system In this regard, a number of projects are planned for implementation in the short and medium term.
The company said it has rolled out an ambitious programme to construct new transmission infrastructure, rehabilitate dilapidated lines and upgrade capacity of overloaded lines. This, it said, will address the challenges that have continued to plague the electricity industry in the country.
Kenya Power Chairman, Eliazar Ochola, noted that whereas the Company would like to accelerate investments that would further enhance quality and reliability of power supply, investment capital was limited.
He said the company was however making steady and sure progress in improving services and thanked development partners who have continued to provide financial resources for the reinforcement and refurbishment of distribution network.
The Nairobi Ring Project will provide additional transmission capacity for evacuation of power from new geothermal power plants at Olkaria in Naivasha and the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project.
The project is funded by the French Development Agency, European Investment Bank and the Government of Kenya.