NAIROBI, KENYA: Power blackout in Coast region is likely to become history by October 2020 on completion of Mariakani substation in Kilifi County.
According to the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO), the station currently under construction will enable increased supply to the Coast of cheap geothermal power from Olkaria fields in the Rift Valley alongside hydropower from neighbouring Ethiopia.
The 400/220kV substation sits on 200 acres of land and will have a capacity to allow the supply of more levels of geothermal power to the coastal economy, according to Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO).
“Mariakani substation will offer reliable and stable power supply to the proposed Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone area through the 220kV Dongo Kundu – Mariakani transmission line,” said FCPA Fernandes Barasa, MD noting that step-down substations, such as the Mariakani facility, reduce the voltage of incoming electricity from power plants to lower levels suited for homes and businesses.
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The Mariakani substation contract was awarded to Chinese firm CAMCE and is co-financed by the African Development Bank and the Kenyan government at a total cost of Sh2.96 billion.
Kenya and Ethiopia are constructing a 1047km 500kV direct current (DC) bi-pole transmission line which will allow hydropower imports from Ethiopia in line with a State-to-State agreement entered in January 2012.
The rapid development registered in the electricity sector in the last six years revealed the need for additional system reinforcement through the extension of the 400 kV network for the safe operation of the Ethiopia-Kenya Interconnector and to absorb the initial 400 MW as per the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
Supply of more geothermal and hydropower to the Coast is expected to steeply cut reliance on expensive diesel-generated electricity in the region. The expected overall impact is lower bills for consumers across the country since power tariffs on the national grid are harmonised regardless of location and energy source.