Kenya Power to upgrade Juja station
Posted Sunday, August 12 2012 at 14:20
Kenya Power is seeking to reduce electricity blackouts by engaging Finnish firms to upgrade the Juja sub-station.
A mishap at the crucial unit last year plunged the whole country into darkness lasting hours.
The power distributor has invited “tenders from bidders registered in Finland” to supply and instal equipment at the substation.
This is the site from where generated power is initially stepped down before distribution to Nairobi and the rest of the country.
The upgrade project, which is expected to begin by the end of the year, is restricted to companies from Finland since their government is funding the project through an inter-governmental loan.
Finnish firms have played prominent roles in the power sector with Wartisla being the most prominent one.
“We want to renew the sub-station by installing modern equipment in order to improve its reliability of power supply,” said Migwi Theuri, the Kenya Power spokesperson.
“The Juja substation was constructed in the 1940s and it is therefore prone to breakdowns due its aged machinery. This is not ideal since the substation is at the heart of the national electricity grid.”
The mid-last year blackout that Kenya Power blamed on a fault between Kamburu sub-station at the Seven Forks hydro-power complex and the Juja sub-station in Dandora, Nairobi, lasted for four hours.
The firm had to tap 30 megawatts from Uganda to restore supply, exposing the over reliance on this single sub-station.
The race to secure power supply lines has in part been informed by the fact that the country is expected to add between 1,913 megawatts and 2,213 megawatts to the national grid in the next three years.
This extra power will come from projects such as the Turkana and General Electric wind projects and the 280 megawatts of geothermal electricity by KenGen.
Other sources include steam, coal and thermal power projects.
“The country has increased its efforts in production of more power to meet growing demand and this has to coincide with installation of new equipment or upgrading the already existing ones,” said Energy Regulatory Commission director-general Kaburu Mwirichia.
“The Juja sub-station upgrade will ensure that it can handle the extra capacity that will be channelled through in coming years.”