The Energy and Petroleum ministry has awarded a $131.1 million contract to China CAMC Engineering for the construction of a power transmission line between Isiolo and Garissa. China CAMC Engineering will build the 285-kilometre line and associated sub-stations over a two-year period. The power transmission line, when complete, is expected to help stabilize power supply in the two regions hitherto lacking a stable power connection. The contract also required CAMC to build three substations along the route of the planned power line. This will add to the length and robustness of the national grid. This project will take 24 months to complete according to the contractor and it will boost stability of power supply in the regions connected. The 220 kilovolt (KV) line is also expected to enable the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) to put up a solar power plant in the region and start transmitting power from it. REA plans to build a KES 12 billion solar power plant in the region, with a capacity to generate 55 megawatts. The power line project is funded through a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China. Eng. John Mativo, Ketraco’s senior technical adviser said the new infrastructure would boost power supplies along the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor from Garissa, Garba Tula and Isiolo. Some of the challenges currently facing the power sub-sector according to Ketraco include: A weak power transmission and distribution infrastructure, High cost of power, and Low per capita power consumption and low countrywide electricity access. Ketraco plans to put up an additional 7,000 km of electricity transmission lines in five years to cut reliance on diesel-generated power in areas that are not covered by the national grid. Ketraco is implementing projects totalling about 5,000km of transmission lines and regional power interconnectors of different voltage levels expected to be completed in the next three to four years. The transmission infrastructure projects will facilitate electricity evacuation from generating stations; reinforce the grid network for increased capacity and reliability. The various projects are financed by the exchequer, development partners, financial institutions and public-private partnerships (PPPs). This latest tender award reinforces the Chinese firms’ trend to run circles around other competing contractors
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