The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (KETRACO) has signed a multi-billion power transmission project with a Spanish construction company, Iberdrola Ingenieria y Construccion S.A.U for the construction of the 220-kV ring around Nairobi Metropolitan area.
The substation project will be financed by Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) and the Government of Kenya at a cost of approximately Kshs. 4.9 Billion.
The project will offer a future evacuation outlet for the 280-MW Olkaria Geothermal Power Plant currently under construction, which cannot reach the city through the existing Nairobi North 220-kV double circuit transmission lines. The Nairobi Ring project will also allow for Power from Ethiopia and Lake Turkana Wind Project to also reach the capital city which accounts for approximately 50% of the Kenya power demand.
The Ring will involve construction of new 220-kV substations in Isinya, Suswa, Ngong, Athi River, Koma Rock and expansion works in the existing Dandora substation. Through the Suswa and Isinya substations power can then be transferred to and from other parts of the country e.g. the future Konza ICT city and even to neighboring countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, D.R.Congo and Ethiopia thereby realizing the dream of regional power trade.
The project is divided into two lots; Lot A comprising of the construction of a 220/66-kV substation at Athi River and a 220-kV substation at Isinya. Lot B includes the construction of 220/66-kV new substations at Ngong and Koma Rock and expansion works at the existing 220-kV substation in Dandora.
The transmission line works are to include the diversion of one of the Suswa - Isinya 400-kV double circuit lines into the new Ngong substation and the 220-kV underground cable connecting Dandora and Koma Rock substations.
This project will see reliability of power transmission in Nairobi and also realize an N-1 contingency that will firm the supply of power within the Nairobi metropolitan area.
Speaking during the function, KETRACO MD Eng. Joel Kiilu said that “the N-1 contingency plan refers to the ability of maintaining the power supply in case of failure on one of the circuits in the ring. This is different from the current situation where a fault on one line leads to a major blackout and power outages within the city thereby disrupting lives.”
The current transmission infrastructure in the city is largely in the eastern side with connections going westwards. The Nairobi ring project will therefore not only increase transfer capacity to meet the city’s rising demand but will also enhance power security by providing alternative electricity paths.
The Nairobi Ring Project also incorporates the Suswa- Isinya 400-kV transmission line which is under implementation by Jyoti Structures of India while the overall construction supervision consultant is Power Engineers of South Africa.
Others who attended the contract signing ceremony included senior officers from KETRACO, key Engineers overseeing the project along with Iberdrola Ingenieria y Construccion S.A.U executives and Spain's Ambassador to Kenya.
The project is estimated to last for 18 months.