Kenya Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (Ketraco) is set to construct a power line that will connect geothermal power plants in Olkaria to Kisumu to curtail high power outrages experienced in Western Kenya. The high voltage power line worth KES8.5bn will be built in May and completed in June 2017. The project will strengthen the link between the Eastern and Western part of the grid for system stability and facilitate evacuation of geothermal power.
The line will eject geothermal power from Olkaria II to boost power supply in Kisumu. The new line will have a transmission capacity of 1,000MW. Consequently, the company will link up with Rwanda from Kabarnet, Lessos substation. The Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu project is a 40kV transmission line funded by Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) and will be built by India’s power Transmission Company and two Chinese companies-NARI and Sieyuan Electric Company.
Western Kenya has been relying on power from rain-dependent Sondu Miriu hydro power plant and 30MW diesel generator from Aggreko plant. The line will reduce reliance on weather linked sources and use of expensive thermal plant to supply Western Kenya with power. Geothermal is regarded as the most affordable and clean source of power.
In February 2015, State owned electricity firm, KenGen commissioned 140 MW Olkaria 1 power plants, the last phase of the 280 MW geothermal facilities in Naivasha to stabilize the cost of electricity in the country. The 280MW which has been running and stable on the grid since December has helped reduce the cost of power by displacing expensive thermal fuel. At the same time, it will reduce dependence on hydro, which is prone to weather variations.