Construction of Ethio-Kenyan Electric Highway to Commence




The construction of the Ethiopia – Kenya interconnector high-voltage electric highway line will start in September 2013. The project has secured financing from the World Bank (WB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Both banks will provide 80pc of the funds needed for the 1.26 billion dollar project. The WB will lend Ethiopia 243 million dollars and Kenya 441 million dollars. The AfDB is lending an additional 242.9 million dollars to the project.

The Ethiopian government will contribute 21.1 million dollars with the Kenyan government contributing 88 million dollars.

The project is expected to provide revenues to Ethiopia, through the export of electricity to Kenya, and increase the volume and reduce the cost of electricity supply in Kenya.

“It will also enable electric power-sharing between the two countries and pave the way for more regional cooperation between the countries of East Africa,” said Meheret Debebe, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Ethiopian Electrical Power Corporation (EEPCo).  “There is no doubt that cross border electricity interconnection and power trade has become a target for each country, due to its tremendous advantages to all the interconnected countries, in both economical and social aspects.”

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of the project was signed in December 2009, between the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments.

When completed, the project will improve the access to affordable energy to around 870,000 households in Kenya and earn 500 million dollars a year for Ethiopia, according to data from the AfDB.

“The power trade strategy, to be developed under the power trade program study in the region, will enable the countries from the regional energy market, supported by the Ethiopia-Djibouti, Ethiopia-Sudan and Ethiopia-Sudan-Egypt power interconnections,” said Meheret.

The 1,070Km power line will run from Wolayta Sodo, in the Southern Region of Ethiopia, to Suswa, 437Km northwest of the Kenyan capital city, Nairobi.

The line will have the capacity to carry 2,000Mw, with the power sources coming from hydroelectric projects in Ethiopia.

The loan agreement has already been approved by the banks and the draft tender document for the design has been submitted to the project office and it is expected to be finalised by the end of May, 2013. The project is expected to be completed in 2016.

“To realise the scheduled completion of the project, it requires cooperation and prompt resolution from all stakeholders and decision makers,” said Meheret.

Ethiopia has the potential to generate 45,000Mw electric power from single source hydropower, however, currently, Ethiopia is only generating 2,100Mw.

The government has envisioned increasing the present generating capacity to 10,000Mw, by the end of the 2015.



By YETNEBERK TADELE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on May 19, 2013 [ Vol 13 ,No 681]


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