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Kenya to double Ethiopian power imports by 2026

Kenya plans to increase electricity import from its northern neighbour, Ethiopia, from the current 200 megawatts to 400 megawatts by 2026.

According to the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO), this enhanced capacity will be supported by the Ksh 75.3 billion converter Suswa Sub-station which was has been in operation since 2022 after completion.

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KETRACO says currently Kenya imports 3990 MWh of electricity per day from Ethiopia under the signed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) capacity of 200MW which is projected to double within the period.

“The principal objectives of this project are to contribute to the integration of the electricity markets of the East African Power Pool through the interconnection of the two countries power systems as well provide reliable and affordable energy from a regional base,” said Dr John Mativo, KETRACO Managing Director.

This emerged during a tour of the project Wednesday by President William Ruto and Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The sub-station which facilitates cross-border transfer of power between Kenya and Ethiopia is a power hub where power from different sources converges making it the biggest switchyard in the region.

The power facility is a bipolar 500 kV High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission line with a power transfer capacity of 2000MW.

The power to Kenya is sourced from Wolayita Sodo in Ethiopia and terminates at Suswa in Kenya. The total length of the transmission lines is approximately 1045Km, out of which approximately 433Km is in Ethiopia and 612km in Kenya.

The sub-station will further facilitate cross boarder transfer of power with Tanzania via 400Kv Isinya Substation. Tanzania plans to have an import capacity of 100MW from Ethiopia through Kenya in the next few weeks, KETRACO said.

“Since completion of the project in January 2022, the project has realized some key benefits including increased volume of power supply at lower tariff, reduced cost of electricity supply in Kenya by more than 90,000,000.00 average Bulk purchase cost and a direct support to an additional 9,000,000 customers in the country. The transmission line has further realized more than 99pc availability level since its commissioning.”

Sources of power for the Suswa sub-station include Olkaria 1AU 140MW (geothermal), Olkaria IV 140MW (geothermal), Olkaria II 105MW (geothermal), Lake Turkana Wind 310MW (wind), Ethiopia 200MW (hydro).

The facility which was constructed jointly by KETRACO and Ethiopia Electric Power Company (EEP) was financed by the World Bank to the tune of  Ksh 55 bilion, African Development Bank (AfDB) Kshs.10.9 billion, Agence Francaise de Development Ksh 9.3 billion and the Government of Kenya Ksh 8.59 billion.

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