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Big boost for Nairobi as State signs Sh5b electricity deal

By - | Nov 5th 2012 | 3 min read
By - | November 5th 2012

Nairobi, Kenya: The country has signed a $59 million (Sh5 billion) deal with a Spanish firm for the construction of a substation power project. The plant will allow for the transmission of electricity imported from Ethiopia and the Lake Turkana wind project into Nairobi.

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (Ketraco) signed the power transmission project with Iberdrola Ingenieria y Construccion SAU for the construction of the 220kV ring around the Nairobi Metropolitan area, which is expected to boost reliability of power in the capital.

“The Nairobi Ring project will also allow for power from Ethiopia and Lake Turkana Wind Project to also reach the capital city, which accounts for approximately 50 per cent of the Kenya power demand,” Ketraco MD Engineer Joel Kiilu said after signing the deal in Nairobi.

“This project will see reliability of power transmission in Nairobi and also realise an N-1 contingencythat will ensure steady supply of power within the Nairobi metropolitan area,” Kiilu added. The N-1 contingency plan refers to the ability to maintain power supply in case of failure on one of the circuits in the ring.


“This is different from the current situation where a fault on one line leads to a major blackout and power outages within the city, thereby disrupting lives,” Kiilu said.He said the current transmission infrastructure in the city is largely in the eastern side with connections  going westwards.

 A recent study under the Least Cost Power Development Plan (LCPDP) for the period 2010-2030 showed that the demand for electricity in Kenya is expected to grow by an average rate of 14 per cent annually from a capacity 1,205 MW last year to 15,065 MW in 2030.

The Nairobi Ring project is one of the solutions geared towards meeting the nation’s rising 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 Project also incorporates the Suswa-Isinya 400 kV transmission line — which is under implementation by Jyoti Structures of India— while the overall construction supervision consultant is Power Engineers of South Africa.

“The Nairobi ring project will, therefore, not only increase transfer capacity to meet the city’s rising demand, but will also enhance power security by providing alternative electricity paths,” he added.


The substation project — which will be financed by Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) and the Government — will offer a future evacuation outlet for the 280 MW Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant currently under construction. The power cannot reach the city through the existing Nairobi North 220 kV double circuit transmission lines.

The Ring will see new 220 kV substations put up in Isinya, Suswa, Ngong, Athi River, KomaRock and expansion works in the existing Dandora substation. Specifically, the project, which will be completed in 18 months, will be divided into two lots; Lot A comprising of the construction of a 220/66 kV substation at Athi River and a 220 kV substation at Isinya. Lot B includes the construction of 220/66 kV new substations at Ngong and Koma Rock and expansion works at the existing 220 kV substation in Dandora.


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 neighboring countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, DRCongo and Ethiopia, thereby realising the dream of regional power trade.

The transmission line works are to include the diversion of one of the Suswa-Isinya 400 kV double circuit lines into the new Ngong substation and the 220 kV underground cable connecting Dandora and Komarock substations.

— Xinhua


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