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Chinese firm to build Sh2.6bn power line to Tanzania

The 96-kilometre line will run from Isinya substation in Kajiado to the border town of Namanga. PHOTO | FILE
The 96-kilometre line will run from Isinya substation in Kajiado to the border town of Namanga. PHOTO | FILE 

Kenya has awarded a Chinese firm the contract to construct a power transmission line connecting to Tanzania to grow electricity trade with countries in East and Southern Africa for reliable supply.

The 96-kilometre line will run from Isinya substation in Kajiado to the border town of Namanga.

Kenya plans to use the line to link up with the Southern African power pool comprising Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zimbabwe for power exchange.

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco), the agency overseeing construction, Tuesday awarded the contract to North China Power Engineering Company Ltd (NCPE).

“With a capacity to transfer 2,000 megawatts in either direction, the interconnector will have positive impacts on the development of renewable sources of energy in Kenya and Tanzania because the interconnected system of both countries will result in a larger, more stable system,” said Ketraco in a statement.

The line will be jointly financed by Kenyan government (Sh439.4 million) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) which will offer Sh2.2 billion ($22.4 million). Construction will take 22 months.

The project is set to interconnect the East African power pool, comprising Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia with the southern markets.

Kenya already has a transmission line connecting to Uganda and plans another line with Ethiopia.

In the arrangement, Kenya will sell excess power to undersupplied countries and buy from those with lower rates and during periods of undersupply, ensuring stable provision of cheap power.

The prospect of selling excess power is especially important for Kenya planning to add 5,000MW of renewable energy to the grid by 2020 amid concerns that the economy has no capacity to absorb it.

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