Charles Keter, Kenya’s Energy Cabinet Secretary revealed that the Kenya-Ethiopia interconnector line construction is expected to be completed by mid this year.
“The new connection will be ready for commissioning at the end of the next three months. We view this as a critical installation, with which we will venture into the power trade businesses and as a result assist in the development of the country,” said CS Keter.
The Kenya-Ethiopia interconnector line is 1,045 kilometers long. It interconnects at the Moyale common border and has the capacity to accommodate or other transport 2,000 MW of electricity in either direction.
The project implementation is complete on Ethiopia’s side, which is the shortest, while on Kenya’s side it is over 90% complete.
The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) is in charge of the implementation of the project while the African Development Bank (AfDB), the French Development Bank (AFD), the World Bank, and the national government of Kenya have collaboratively funded the project to the tune of US $620m.
This project is Kenya’s second cross-border grid link after Uganda which connects through the Olkaria-Lesos 132 Kilovolts (kV) line, while the Kenya-Ethiopia interconnector line is Kenya’s first direct current (DC) line having 500kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) considering that all the other transmission and distribution lines in the East African country are alternating current (AC) wires.
Expectations for the project
Once operational, the Kenya-Ethiopia interconnector line will enable cross-border trade of reliable and affordable energy from the East African region and eventually to the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP), through Tanzania.
The project is expected to integrate power systems of five countries including Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda under the Eastern African Power Pool (EAPP) Master Plan that seeks to take advantage of excess capacity within the network and facilitate the trade of electricity between member countries.