Nairobi — Kenya has signed a Sh8.3 billion loan agreement with the French Development Agency (AFD) to finance installation of a high-voltage power transmission ring around the greater Nairobi.
The Nairobi Power Transmission Project, which will be completed in two years time, is expected to boost the transmission efficiency Nairobi.
The project will include construction of a 220Kilovolt (KV) substation at Suswa in Naivasha, a 400KV transmission line from Suswa to Isinya, four 220/66KV substations at Athi River, Ngong, Thika and Komarock, as well as switching and monitoring devices at the existing substation in Dandora.
The project will also include construction of a spur line to the Ngong substation and an underground cable between Dandora and Komarok substations.
Signing the agreement, Finance Minister Njeru Githae said the project will provide an additional transmission capacity for extraction of power from the new geothermal power plants at Olkaria and the soon-to-be-constructed Lake Turkana Wind Power Plant.
"We want to assure the children who will be born two years from now, that in their lifetime, the word 'black out' will be unknown to them. That is, when there is a power failure on one line, you can very quickly switch over to another one, in a way that the consumers may not know what has happened. That's the vision we have," said Githae.
Githae has however called Kenyans to invest more in power generation especially wind power generation adding that the Kenya Power is ready to buy power from anyone to achieve the 2000 megawatts target by the year 2020.
"There is so much potential in energy generation. Instead of struggling to buy matatus, please invest in this sector; that is where the money is. And we have institutions which are ready to fund. So investors, the returns here are good, "added Githae.
French ambassador to Kenya Etinne de Poncins has called for quick implementation of the project and proper use of the funds.
"This programme will help promote the social and economic development in Nairobi and the country at large by having enough lighting for security purposes. In the long term we want to be involved in the project of power interconnection with Ethiopia and Tanzania under the East African Power Pool (EAPP),"said the ambassador.
The Kenyan government has so far received a cumulative amount of Sh88.5 billion from the government of France for the last 10 years.