Kenya on Thursday awarded a 59 million U.S. dollars deal with a Spanish firm for the construction of a substation power project, which will allow the transmission of electricity imported from Ethiopia and the Lake Turkana wind power project into Nairobi.
The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (KETRACO) signed the power transmission project with a Spanish construction company, Iberdrola Ingenieria y Construccion S.A.U 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 percent 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 realize an N-1 contingency that will firm the supply of power within the Nairobi metropolitan area,” Kiilu added.
The N-1 contingency plan refers to the ability of maintaining the 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.
The project is estimated to last for 18 months. 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 percent 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 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 Nairobi Ring 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 Kenyan government will offer a future evacuation outlet for the 280 MW Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant currently under construction, which cannot reach the city through the existing Nairobi North 220 kV double circuit transmission lines.
The Ring will involve construction of new 220 kV substations in Isinya, Suswa, Ngong, Athi River (in the outskirts of Nairobi), KomaRock and expansion works in the existing Dandora substation ( in Nairobi).
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, D.R.Congo and Ethiopia thereby realizing the dream of regional power trade.
The project is 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.
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.