A new high voltage power line that will be constructed to link geothermal power plants in Olkaria to Kisumu is set to start on May, Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (Ketraco) has said and complete in June 2017.
The power line project, which is expected to cost US$ 93m, aims at reducing the ongoing blackouts experienced in Western Kenya. The new line will allow injection of more geothermal power into the grid, after successful commissioning of 280 megawatts plants with a substation in Kibos, Kisumu, nearly 300 km from Olkaria.
Currently, the Western part of Kenya relies on Sondu Miriu hydro power which depends on rainfall and an Aggreko plant running on the more expensive diesel. Thus the new power transmission line will reduce dependency on the two. “Geothermal is the best source of power. It is stable and very affordable,” said Mr Kiilu.
“The new Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu project has a transmission capacity of 1,000MW while the current line is only able to transmit 75MW. Apart from supplying power to Western Kenya, it will also link up with Rwanda from the Lessos substation,” said Joel Kiilu, Managing Director Ketraco.
The new power transmission line will run from Olkaria II plant to Lessos in Eldoret, connecting to Tororo in Uganda via the Kenya Uganda interconnector and further to Rwanda. It will transmit 75MW.
India’s Kalpaturi Power Transmission Company and two Chinese firms—NARI Group and Sieyuan Electric Company were the ones selected to construct the power line.
It is fully funded by Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) and the Kenyan Government.
Kenya has a current vision of adding 5,000MW more to the grid by 2017 from about 1,664MW in a bid to stabilize the national grid and see the dream of regional power trade become a reality.