THE tender for the construction of the 1000-km long Kenya-Ethiopia power line will be advertised next week with construction scheduled to begin before the end of the year , the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company said yesterday.
Apart from the transmission line, converter stations will be erected at Wolayta-Sodo (Ethiopia) and Suswa (Kenya), with a power transfer capacity of up to 2,000MW. The contractors for the converter stations have already been shortlisted, according to Ketraco managing director Joel Kiilu.
The project, that will link Kenya and Ethiopia's power grids has received all the required fundings and will take an estimated 36 months and should be operational by 2017.
Ethiopia has a more stable power output and its power is also cheaper than Kenya's. Kenya hopes the project will lead to lower energy costs and attract more investors.
A government study on the least-cost power development plan by the ministry of energy has recognised that power imports from neigbouring countries are cost effective.
The integration of the power systems is hoped will create a "power pool" plugging into Ethiopia's massive hydro-power resources, enabling Ethiopia to sell its surplus electricity to Kenya.
The $1.26 billion (Sh107.1 billion) cross-border power line will be co-financed by the two governments, World Bank, AfDB and the French Agency for Development.
Plans are also afoot to put up a new 127 km line between Lesos and Tororo at a cost of Sh4.9 billion to link the power grids of Kenya and Uganda. Work on this project is expected to kick off in April this year.
Ketraco has however raised concern over the high compensation amount for the affected communities. The company, that was formed in 2008, said it has so far paid out Sh3 billion as compensations.