Kenya Power to link western region to geothermal

Kenya Power will construct an 85-kilometre power line between Narok and Bomet to connect western Kenya to cheap power produced at the Olkaria geothermal fields.

The line will be the second one connecting the region to cheap power. The first one, passing through Lessos to Kisumu, is being constructed by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) and is scheduled for completion in September.

Kenya Power said yesterday the Bomet line would complete a redundancy ring and ensure that western Kenya has access to more stable power. Currently, power utilities rely on costly thermal power plants and imports from Uganda to power the region.

The Sondu Miriu hydro power plant, the major cheap power source in the area, is less reliable as it does not have a reservoir and only generates power during the rainy season.

“Currently, we have the grid connecting Narok to Olakaria but there is a missing link between the two and Bomet,” said Kenya Power general manager in charge of infrastructure development and network management, David Mwaniki.

Lack of infrastructure

“The line will now connect Bomet to Olkaria and from Bomet, we will be able to supply cheap power to the rest of the region, especially Kisii and South Nyanza.”

Mr Mwaniki said there was a lot of cheap power at Olkaria, but the company could not transmit it to western Kenya due to lack of infrastructure.

The project is financed by the French Development Agency. Kenya Power is in the process of selecting a contractor to build the line that is expected to take two years to complete.

Commissioning the Ketraco line, which has a capacity of 400KV, is expected to result in the retiring of some of the thermal plants, including a 60-megawatt one at Muhoroni.

 

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