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Sh126b joint Kenya-Ethiopia power line begins

By Lee Mwiti | August 4th 2016
Kenya Power and Lightning Company [KPLC] personnel works on an electricity line at Tetu in Nyeri. Kenya and Ethiopia have started the construction of a Sh126 billion power line that will run between the two countries. (PHOTO: KIBATA KIHU/ STANDARD)

Kenya and Ethiopia have started the construction of a Sh126 billion power line that will run between the two countries.

The 1,045 kilometre line will have a transmitting capacity of 2,000MW and is expected to be completed by December 2018. Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) said of the 1,045 km power line, 600km will be in Kenya, while 445 will be in Ethiopia.

The line will traverse Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo, Laikipia, Nyandarua and Nakuru counties. Chinese construction firm, China Electric Power Equipment Technology (CET), will be erecting the power line that is financed by the African Development Bank (ADB).

“The major costs will be financed by our development partners, while we will be financing local costs such as compensating land owners and sourcing for local labour,” explained Ketraco.

In May this year, when Ketraco CEO Ferdinand Barasa first announced plans for the power line, he confirmed that his corporation was working with the National Land Commission to ensure land compensations were completed on time.

The ground-breaking ceremony for the project was done at Wolayta Sodo construction site, about 425km south of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Abba.

Once the line enters Kenya, other regional countries such as South Sudan and Uganda are expected to connect their national grids to new power line. While Ethiopia expects to boost its foreign currency reserves by selling power, Kenya wants to drive industrial growth with additional supplies.

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