Ketraco completes Sh1.5bn Kitale power line next month

Newly appointed Ketraco MD Eng John Mativo. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) is set to complete a new transmission line that is a key alternative route to evacuate power from the Turkwel Hydropower Station next month.

Ketraco Managing Director Dr John Mativo yesterday said the 220kV Turkwel-Ortum-Kitale transmission line, which has a capacity to carry 200 megawatts (MW), will be completed next month.

“On Monday we are transporting a transformer for the line to the location on Monday. By the end of June, Turkwel will have two ways to evacuate power; either through the Lessos line or the Ortum-Kitale line,” said Dr Mativo in an interview.

The completion of the project comes after a delay of nine years. The project was scheduled to be completed by August 2015. According to an audit report by former Auditor-General Edward Ouko, the project was funded by the Exim Bank of India.

KEC International Limited was awarded the tender to construct the line at a cost of $11,861,976 (Sh1.55 billion at current exchange rates).

Ketraco imported the two transformers for the project in August last year, with one transformer to be stationed at the Kitale sub-station and another at the Ortum sub-station.

Currently, power is evacuated from the KenGen-owned 106-megawatt (MW) hydropower station through a 210km line to Lessos near Eldoret where it connects to the national grid.

The transmission line’s completion is a reprieve for consumers, as Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir had last year revealed that the low capacity of the line had denied Kenyans cheaper electricity.

This is because Kenya Power had to first give priority for power from the Selenkei, Cedate and Alten solar power plants in Uasin Gishu due to the power purchase agreements (PPAs) obligations.

This means that currently, power from the solar plants is prioritised until the PPA requirements are met before power from Turkwel is evacuated.

“The Turkwel-Lessos line which was commissioned in 1991 was initially meant only to evacuate power from Turkwel then the solar plants came on board, but the line could not support both generation sources,” said Dr Mativo.

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