Ketraco to construct high voltage power line between Narok, Bomet

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) will build a power line between Narok and Bomet that is expected to connect parts of South Rift and South Nyanza to reliable and cheaper power produced at the Olkaria geothermal fields.

The line, Ketraco said, is expected to reduce power blackouts being experienced in the areas.

The company attributed the unstable power to inadequate electricity generating capacity by plants located in the western Kenya region including Sondu and Turkwell that have to be complemented by imports from Uganda.

The outages are also due to power transmission losses that occur when electricity is transmitted over long distances.

Bomet and other areas nearby are served by power transmitted through the Olkaria-Lessos line.

Kenya Power did studies in 2018 with plans to construct the line, with this function now taken over by Ketraco. Ketraco said the 81-kilometre 132-kilovolt line would cost Sh2.1 billion to construct. It will be financed by the African Development Bank and Korea Exim Bank.

“The proposed project seeks to establish a more reliable power supply with improved voltage profiles via the establishment of a line linking the Olkaria geothermal generation plants to the South Rift and western region transmission network,” said Ketraco in an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) lodged with the National Environment Management Authority for approval.

“This will greatly improve supply quality and reliability to the said regions of the country as it will provide an alternative route for evacuation of power from Olkaria geothermal plants.

"The project is justifiable in that it will stabilise power supply, and improve on transmission line security hence cushioning against losses occasioned by power failures and blackouts.”

Kenya Power had undertaken feasibility studies, an ESIA and a resettlement action plan in 2018.

Ketraco said it is looking at the studies and would be updating the work that Kenya Power had done before and firm up plans before starting construction.

At the moment, the grid connects Olkaria to Narok but there is no high-voltage line taking the power from Olkaria onwards to Bomet.

With the planned line, Ketraco also expects to supply Kisii and South Nyanza with more stable power.

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