The Kenya Electricity Transmission Co., Ltd. (KETRACO) has signed a Sh2.7 billion contract with global engineering company Siemens for the extension of Rabai and Embakasi substations.
Managing Director Eng. Joel Kiilu said the extension of the 220-kV substations is vital in order to tie in electricity transmitted within the 400-kV and 220-kV Mombasa - Nairobi transmission line that is currently being constructed by Indian company Kalpataru.
"The extension of the two substations will make it easy to transmit power within the high voltage line from Mombasa," he said during the contract signing ceremony. Dominique Jaussoin signed on behalf of a consortium of Siemens Transmission & Distribution and Siemens Kenya Limited (see photo).
Kiilu said the project would for the first time involve the installation of an 8-km underground cable near Embakasi. Though erecting underground cables is expensive, this was the only alternative because the site falls on a flight path and installing normal towers could pose a threat to airplanes landing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
The project, being financed by the France Development Agency (AFD) and the Kenyan Government, is expected to take 20 months. AFD has contributed Sh2.2 billion while the Government is providing the rest.
"We promise to employ our expertise in this field and could finish the project within 17 to 18 months," said Jaussoin.
Extension of the Rabai and Embakasi substation form lot three of the Mombasa - Nairobi transmission line being constructed at Sh7.4 billion. Lot one comprises the segment of the line between Rabai and Tsavo River, while lot two comprises the line between Tsavo River and Embakasi substation.
The line is of critical importance because it will be used to transfer electricity from thermal power stations in the coastal area to Nairobi, improve the power system stability, reliability and reduce technical losses and play a major role in regional power trade.
Kiilu said KETRACO plans to invest Sh1 billion over the next four years in construction of transmission lines across the country. He also revealed that a consultant will soon be contracted to develop a wheeling charge mechanism to enable the company recoup its investments besides opening up channels for power exchange in the region.