Suswa Electricity Hub Gets Go Ahead To Serve The Nation
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KETRACO’s Suswa substation was energised on 5th June 2015 following successful pre- commissioning tests. This will greatly enhance the National Grid stability and minimise national power blackouts, ensuring improved power supply.
Suswa substation, the largest substation in Kenya, located approximately 80km, North West of Nairobi, along the Maai Mahiu-Narok highway, received a permit from Kenya Power, after the completion of the construction of the 220kV switching station. Pre-commissioning tests were conducted by KETRACO in the weeks prior to the commissioning.
“Pre-commissioning test involve verifying the operability of various equipment,” stated KETRACO’s MD FCPA Fernandes Barasa. “We needed to ensure that everything functions well, and fits into the National Grid seamlessly, integrating the substation into the existing operating system.”
With the substation being commissioned, it will serve as an entry and exchange point for geothermal, wind and hydro-generation into the national grid. The substation has the potential to handle a capacity of sixteen (16) 220kV lines. Among these are:
1. 280MW from Olkaria 1AU and Olkaria IV in addition to the earlier generation
2. 300MW from Lake Turkana Wind Project expected early 2017
3. Initial 400MW expected from the Eastern Interconnector (Ethiopia-Kenya) 500kV HVDC transmission line under construction expected to be completed in 2018.
4. Several future Independent Power Producers (IPP) planning to generate from Olkaria Geothermal Fields
In order to evacuate all these power the Company needed to reinforce the current existing Olkaria II – Nairobi North line which is able to evacuate approximately 500MW. In addition, KETRACO is currently constructing a 100km Suswa- Isinya 400kV transmission line capable of evacuating more than 1,000MW that is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Hence, Suswa substation, together with associated transmission projects, will form the backbone of Kenya National Grid providing connectivity and power evacuation to Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania as well as interconnecting the Western, Coastal and the Northern regions within the Country.
The project is financed by Agence Francais de Developpement (AFD) at an approximate cost of KES 2.5 billion, and implemented by SIEMENS S.A.S of France as the main Contractor with DNV-GL of Netherland as the Employer’s representative.
Benefits of the Project
This project will provide an alternative route through the Suswa-Isinya transmission line for the evacuation of approximately 500MW of energy from the Olkaria geothermal complex to the load centres in Nairobi and other regions, significantly reducing black outs in Nairobi region. Suswa substation will also evacuate power from the future GDC Suswa geothermal fields along with power generated by Independent Power Producers such as Akira Geothermal limited and Africa Geothermal International Limited.
The substation will also enable the displacement of thermal generation in coast region once the Company’s Isinya –Suswa and Mombasa –Nairobi 400kV lines are completed by the end of the year.
In addition, the project will form a major power interconnection/exchange hub for the Ethiopia-Kenya Electricity highway project thereby enhancing regional interconnectivity as well as grid stability. Furthermore, the project will integrate the Southern countries electrical grids through the Suswa-Isinya and Isinya-Arusha-Singida 400kV projects. This will foster good intergovernmental relationships within the region.
The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Limited (KETRACO) is a 100% state-owned corporation incorporated in December 2008, under the Company’s Act Cap 486. Its mandate is to plan, design, construct, own, operate and maintain high voltage electricity transmission grid and regional power interconnectors. This infrastructure forms the backbone of the National Transmission Grid, in line with Kenya Vision 2030; with the aim of shielding electricity consumers from the higher retail tariffs.
KETRACO projects are undertaken based on the following themes: Electricity Access Projects, System Strengthening Projects, Power Evacuation Projects and Regional Interconnection Projects.
Since 1954 when the first 220kV line between Nairobi and Jinja (Owen Falls) was constructed, only about 4000 kilometres of high voltage transmission network is in place to date. KETRACO will construct another 5000 kilometres in the next four years focussing on strengthening the existing Transmission System, penetrating into new generation & load distribution areas and enhancing Regional Inter-connections with Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia.