Uhuru in deal to speed up Ethiopia-Kenya power line


High voltage power line. FILE PHOTO | NMG

President Uhuru Kenyatta has struck a deal with the visiting Ethiopian Premier Abiy Ahmed Ali to speed up the construction of the 500KV transmission line allowing Kenya to import electricity from Addis Ababa.

China Electric Power Equipment and Technology (CET) began to work on the Ethiopian side of the 1,045km line in August 2016 but the high cost of wayleave has slowed the Kenyan side of the project.

Construction of the line with capacity to transport 2000MW of electricity was meant to be completed in one year. It runs 445km in Ethiopia with the rest of the 600km passing through Kenya. “Both sides agreed to finalise the Ethiopia-Kenya interconnection transmission line,” the two leaders said in a joint communique issued following the meeting in Nairobi yesterday.

The African Development Bank is the principal financier of the Sh126 billion ($1.26 billion) project which is meant to transmit power to Kenya and other East African countries.

Monday, when he commissioned a seven kilometre 220kv underground cable linking Embakasi Sub-Station to the main Isinya-Suswa-Olkaria high voltage line, Energy secretary Charles Keter said landowners were demanding about Sh20 billion to allow passage of power from Ethiopia. “We are on schedule with construction of the high voltage transmission lines... It will be ready by June next year,” he said