Suswa-Isinya-Rabai line energized enabling supply of cheap power

Kenya Power has Friday energized the Suswa-Isinya-Rabai line paving way for supply of cheap electricity to the Coast region and its environs.

The 400kV line which has initially been charged at 220kV will evacuate power from geothermal plants in Olkaria to the Coast region.

Majority of the Coast region has in the past relied on thermal generators linked to the national grid for electricity supply.

The new development will minimize consumption of thermal power in the region and in turn impact positively on customer bills through a reduction in the monthly fuel cost surcharge.

“The line will improve the quality and reliability of power supply to the Coast region by delivering excess geothermal power to this area. In addition, it will also boost supply in Athi River, Kitengela and Makueni to adequately serve manufacturers and other large establishments,” said Kenya Power’s General Manager for Network Management Eng. Daniel Tare.

Construction of the line completed about a month ago and has been undergoing pre-commissioning tests. It has been put up by Ketraco through funding by bilateral lenders managed by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and the Ministry of Finance.

The line will evacuate up to 150 MW of geothermal power. Demand in the Coast region currently stands close to 300MW.

This milestone underscores Kenya Power’s commitment to supply reliable and affordable electricity supply to customers in line with its social economic responsibility to improve people’s lives.

New 220/66KV Power Line commissioned 

Meanwhile, East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC), Kenya Power and KETRACO have  commissioned a new 220/66KV power line exclusively dedicated to the cement maker’s power needs to enhance efficiency at its Athi River plant.

The power line is expected to ease reliance on the Athi River-Salama feeder power line by giving EAPCC a dedicated power line from a newly constructed substation for its power needs. The strategic move is geared towards cushioning the iconic cement maker against incessant power outages that heavily impact on production efficiencies and consistency.

Speaking during the commissioning, EAPCC’s Managing Director, Simon Peter Ole Nkeri, said investment in the power line will enhance product availability to improve the firm’s competitiveness.

“Minimal power interruptions will increase efficiency in production operations, consistency in product availability as well reduce production costs,” said Simon Peter Ole Nkeri. “This is good news for our customers as it will ensure that Blue Triangle Cement is available in the market consistently and at a competitive price”. He added.

The move will see the company’s energy costs reduce by over Ksh. 200 million out of a total annual energy bill of Ksh 1 billion. It costs the company at least Ksh 1 million per hour for any downtime caused by power outages.

Lack of consistent power supply has been a major challenge in the cement manufacturing industry which has left companies struggling to meet their production costs slowing the sector’s growth.

“Cement manufacturing is an energy intensive process, both in terms of thermal and electrical energy therefore this new power line and the guarantee of stable energy supply that it offers will go a long way towards improving our competitiveness and boost returns to our shareholders through higher production and revenues,” said Ole Nkeri.

Outages

The dedicated power line will shield EAPCC power needs from numerous outages as a result of sharing the current line with other consumers. The 66KV line is exclusive to EAPCC which is now able to draw power directly from the substation at Kitengela which is only 1.5 km away from the factory.

Before the commissioning of this new line the company drew its power from Embakasi which is 16 kms away.

According to an East African Cement Industry Report, despite cement consumption growth, at a CAGR of 13.4% in the period between the year 2009 and the year 2015, energy costs have accounted for about 26% of the total manufacturing cost of cement, limiting profit margins.

At the cost of electric power at 0.14 USD/kWh, the average specific power consumption for a cement plant was 111 kWh/ton of cement with an average peak demand of 9.7 MW in 2016.

With the housing demand taking up 65% of total cement demand, infrastructure and organized infrastructure taking up 25% and 10% respectively in Kenya, EAPCC is planning to increase its utilization through plant infrastructure investment.

  

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