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Thursday, October 2, 2014


The left most row of pylons with power cables, is called the Nairobi North line. It carries power from Ol Karia geothermal fields up the escarpment through Ndenderu to Nairobi.

The centre row of pylons, is new. It is also supposed to bring power from new steam plants in Ol Karia IV and Ol Karia 1 phase II, a total of about 350Megawatts of power.

The row of pylons on the right, is the Loiyangalani line. It is supposed to bring power from the Lake Turkana Wind Power project, 430kilometres and deposit it at Suswa for onward redistribution.

The road shown is the Maai-Mahiu to Narok highway, the exact spot is at Suswa where the lines cross the road and onward to a massive substation coming up at Suswa.

Joining them will be another set of high-voltage carrying pylons this time coming from 1100Km away in Ethiopia where Kenya is purchasing 400Mw of power for itself and also wheeling in, 400Mw each for Tanzania and Rwanda.

From here they will drop at the Suswa substation currently under construction.

This will be one of the most crucial infrastructure installations in the country.

Shown here is just the 220Kv substation for receiving the current power that is coming from Ol Karia, as well as Loiyangalani.

Next to it, will be built a much bigger HVDC (high-voltage Direct Current) converter substation to bring in as much as 2000Mw from Ethiopia.

All this is just a small representation of Ketraco's (Kenya Electricity Transmission Company) ambitions to build an aerial empire.

It starts from modest beginnings.

The Nairobi North line shown above for instance is currently one of the most if not the most important power line in the country.

It goes down, we get almost national blackouts.

This represents the serious lack of investment in transmission lines in the country over the last 30 years.

Before the current network of pylons Ketraco is putting up, the Nairobi North line and the Turkwell line were the only transmission projects the country had invest in during that time.

The company has already doubled the length of transmission lines in the country and plans to have 10,000Km of lines by 2020.

Check the list below if the lines go through your village.

The Nairobi North line became crucial because it provided an alternative source of power from Ol Karia to the Seven Forks.

But all those power stations produce about 60Mw each from Masinga, to Kaburu, Kindaruma, Kambere and Gitaru.

For the reason that these stations are in Eastern Kenya, the Dandora substation in Nairobi where they bring their power has been the most important in the country.

Suswa is going to rival that.

The plants coming up at Ol Karia are at least 70Mw each and with Kengen putting up 5 of them, we are looking at 350Mw from the phase one project alone.

Phase II is meant to do 560Mw.

Geothermal Development Company meantime is doing about 400Mw and 800Mw at Menengai in phases I and II.

From the Suswa substation, power will be transmitted eastwards to Nairobi through the Nairobi North line but also through the Suswa-Isinya line.

At Isinya, another substation to receive this power and also from the high-voltage line from Mombasa is being put up.

Power from here will be sent eastwards to Athi River and Embakasi substation for distribution.

It will also head south to Tanzania where it will link up with the ZTK project (Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya) transmission project.

On the long neglected eastern side of Kenya, Lamu to Kitui is likely to see some of the biggest transmission works in the future.

The 900Mw coal power project at Lamu awarded to the Centum/Gulf Energy consortium will be linked through Kitui and into Nairobi East with another line extending to Wajir and beyond.

This project should be done in the next two years if the Centum/Gulf group under their AMU group deal with the petition by losing bidder HGIC.

At the same time, these substations at Suswa, Isinya, Embakasi, Dandora and so on form a ring around Nairobi that is supposed to stabilize the power supply in the commercial capital of Kenya.

Nairobitech will update as each of these projects come online.

Some notable projects completed or in progress include.

  1. Sondu - Kisumu line 50Km COMPLETE
  2. Rabai - Galu line 48Km COMPLETE
  3. Chemosit - Kisii line 62Km COMPLETE
  4. Kamburu - Meru lin 122Km COMPLETE
  5. Sangoro - Sondu line 5Km COMPLETE
  6. Mumias - Rangala line 34Km COMPLETE
  7. Mombasa - Nairobi line 482Km ONGOING
  8. Rabai - Malindi - Garsen - Lamu ONGOING
  9. ............................

1 comment:

  1. AfDB funding electricity infrastructure for Eastern Africa..The government’s KETRACO agency will build a 428 kilometer, 400 kV line, from Loyangalani to Suswa that they say will be ready in 24 months and which will also link up with geothermal plants along the way