Kenya, Tanzania electricity line to be launched this year

Kenya has completed the construction of its portion of a Sh43 billion ($309.26 million) electricity transmission line that will allow power imports and exports with neighbouring Tanzania before end of year.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir Tuesday said Kenya was installing meters along the transmission line of 507.5-kilometres ahead of the commissioning by December.

The line whose timely completion was plunged into doubt after compensation delays for persons affected by project along the wayleave on the Kenyan side is critical to boosting power supply between the countries. The Kenya’s line runs from Isinya substation to Namanga and its about 93 kilometres.

The line with an intended transfer capacity of 2,000 megawatts will allow the two countries to sell excess electricity to one another besides allowing the two economies to tap hydro-power from neighbouring Ethiopia.

“The 400 kv (kilovolt) line is finished and we should commission the line before the end of the year and this will allow the two countries to share excess power,” Mr Chirchir said Tuesday.

“Between now and September, we are installing meters since stringing is already over along the Isinya-Namanga section that had been delayed over wayleave compensation.”

Tanzania first disclosed plans to export power to Kenya in 2016 and had targeted to make the first shipments to Nairobi by 2018.

Ethiopia is currently the biggest source of Kenya’s electricity imports under a 25-year deal that started in November last year.

Kenya shipped 218.29 million kilowatt hours (kWh) from the Horn of Africa nation in the three months to March with a further 69.31 million kWh shipped from Uganda. Kenya did not import any units from Tanzania in the period.

The Kenya-Tanzania line will also link East African and the Southern African electricity pools, enabling sharing of power between the two regions in a bid to boost supply.

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