Regional Power Interconnections
The first regional power interconnection between Kenya and a neighbouring country was done in 1955 with the commissioning of the Kenya-Uganda 132 kV power line which connected the power generation at the Owen Falls Hydroelectric power station with the load centres in Kenya and for a long time, this line formed the main backbone of our power grid as it traversed through Tororo, Musaga, Lessos, Lanet and Nairobi. No other regional power link has been built since then except for a few cross-border connections.
KETRACO intends to change this with an ambitious regional power interconnection program that will make Kenya a hub for power trade in the region as shown on map below.
Regional Power Trade Projects
The following projects are planned for implementation in the spirit of regional power trade:
Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) Power Interconnection
The project which is being implemented under the umbrella of the Nile Basin Initiative will add a new 220 kV line from Lessos to Bujagari Hydropower station in Uganda and also interconnect Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as depicted below.
The new Kenya-Uganda link is expected to increase the power transfer capacity between the two countries to 350 MW. The project is financed by consortium of Development Partners led by the African Development Bank and construction is expected to start by May 2011.
Kenya-Ethiopia Power interconnection
An 1100 km long 500 kV DC transmission line with a power transfer capacity of 2,000 MW is at an advanced stage of implementation. Feasibility studies have been completed and consultancy services for detailed design are being sought. Construction is expected to start in early 2012.
Kenya-Tanzania Power Interconnection
This interconnection will start from the proposed Isinya substation south of Nairobi and pass through Arusha before terminating at Singinda in Tanzania. It is expected to be operated at 400 kV and have a power transfer capacity of at least 1000 MW. The consultants for the feasibility study update and detailed design (up to tender documentation) have been selected. Construction is expected to start in 2012.
Other Power Interconnections
A planned power interconnection between Tanzania and Zambia will link the East African region with the South African Power Pool and the on-going construction of interconnections between Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti and possible connections between Sudan and Egypt will make the dream of a Cape to Cairo interconnection a reality.