The second phase of the Ethiopia-Kenya Power Systems Interconnection Project is set to commence following the approval of a Sh30 billion loan by the African Development Bank. The first phase of the regional 1.3 billion-dollar power integration program commenced mid this year after the World Bank approved loans worth $684m.

The project which aims at opening up the eastern African power network will see Ethiopia export surplus power to Kenya. It is considered a flagship project as an anchor link in establishing the backbone of East African Power Pool (EAPP) which seeks to pool together energy resources to create a regional electricity market through power trading.

It involves the construction of a 1,068km high-voltage direct current 500kv transmission line between the two countries. It also includes putting up of associated converter stations at Wolayta-Sodo (Ethiopia) and Suswa (Kenya), with a power transfer capacity of up to 2,000mw.

AfDB said Ethiopia would receive Sh19.4 billion ($232) million of the funding, while Kenya would take Sh9.7 billion ($116 million).The power project is co-funded by the World Bank, the French Development Agency and the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments and is due to for completion in 2018.

Power sharing between the two is expected to reduce energy costs and pave the way for more dynamic regional cooperation between the countries of East Africa.

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