By MACHARIA KAMAU
Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) plans to put up power transmission infrastructure worth Sh81 billion in the next three years.
The parastatal which was hived off from Kenya Power and Lighting Company two years ago said it has embarked on 20 projects across the country.
Ketraco chief executive Joel Kiilu said once up, the transmission lines will improve transmission of electricity in the country.
He added that the new infrastructure would play part in reduction of frequent power outages by efficiently evacuating power from areas that have high electricity generation capacity to areas where demand has outstripped supply.
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"Over the next two to three years, we have planned the completion of projects worth $900 million. The transmission lines will cumulatively be 2,600 kilometres long," he said.
Among key projects Ketraco has in the pipeline is a high voltage line running between Mombasa and Isinya.
The 400KV line is scheduled for completion in March 2013 and will become the largest transmission capacity in the country. Kiilu said it would be essential in bringing excess capacity from coastal area to Nairobi.
The region has a higher generation capacity due to the high number of thermal power generation plants. Only a fraction of the excess capacity produced in the region can however be transmitted to Nairobi due to an inadequate infrastructure.
"There is excess generation in the coastal region. However, the current power transmission lines cannot be used to evacuate this capacity to Nairobi," he said.
He said Mombasa-Isinya-Embakasi line would cost Sh14 billion. It will be co-funded by African Development Bank, European Investment Bank and Agence FranÁaise de DÈveloppement.
The Government has set aside Sh980 million to be used in the acquisition of land that will be used for the line. Construction works will be undertaken by Indian contractor Kalpataru.