German Firm to Supervise Kenya-Ethiopia Power Line

LahmeyerKENYA has picked German engineering firm Lahmeyer International GmbH to supervise the building of a heavy electricity transmission line from Ethiopia to the country, set to start before December. Lahmeyer will oversee work done by contractors who will be awarded tenders later in the year to construct a $1.2 billion high voltage line covering about 1,068 kilometres.

Energy Permanent Secretary Patrick Nyoike said Lahmeyer’s scope of work covers supervising building of steel towers and transmission cables with inverter substations at Suswa in Kenya and Welayta Sodo in Ethiopia.

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) and Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO) are the implementing agencies of the transmission line designed with a transfer capacity of 2,000 Megawatts.

Ethiopia, which has a hydropower potential of about 45,000MW, is currently building three dams to generate electricity for domestic use and for export to Kenya and other neighbouring countries. Ethiopia and Kenya signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) in March 2012, for 400MW.

Richard Muiru, the chief electrical engineer at Kenya’s Energy Ministry, said the transmission line is divided into five lots of about 200 kilometres under separate contracts.

“The project will promote sustainable and renewable power generation, it will protect the region’s environment and usher in regional energy trade envisioned by Eastern African Power Pool countries,” said Mr Muiru.

The African Development Bank (AfDB), which is funding the Kenya-Ethiopia project, expects contractors to be invited in May to bid to build the line. AfDB approved a $348 million loan to the countries in September last year.

Mr Nyoike said Ketraco will complete construction of the 400 kilovolt Mombasa-Nairobi transmission line in September this year due to challenges encountered in acquiring land around Kibwezi forest.

The 462-kilometre line linking Mombasa with Nairobi is being built by Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd of India on behalf of Ketraco at a cost of $179.4 million. It was initially expected to have been completed in June 2013.