Construction to start on 1,000-km Ethiopia-Kenya power line


China Electric Power & Equipment Technology Company (CET) has been awarded a $120m contract to build the Ethiopian section of the long-awaited Ethiopia-to-Kenya power transmission line.

Financed by the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB), the 1,045-km line will eventually bring much-needed electricity to Kenya from Ethiopia, which is pursuing ambitious hydroelectric and other renewable power schemes.

The centrepiece of Ethiopia’s plan is the 6,000MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (see map above), which is under construction on the Blue Nile and is due to be completed in July 2017.

Signed by government agency Ethiopian Electric Power in Addis Ababa on 20 June, the contract sees CET install the 433-km Ethiopian segment of the line from Wolayita Sodo in south-central Ethiopia to the Kenyan border, local media reported.

CET has 26 months to build the line.

The AfDB approved a $208m loan to Ethiopia in 2012, and has also provided $118m to Kenya for the scheme.

The overall cost of the project is estimated $1.26bn, and includes two connector stations in each country.

Ethiopia and Kenya agreed to the power-link in 2006, but the project has hit delays.

“In the region power shortage and its high price constitute one of the major challenges of development, our success in combating poverty and under-development will among other things depend on how soon and how efficiently we solve the existing power-related problems,” said Alemayehu Tegenu, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy of Ethiopia, at the contract signing.

An AfDB representative said it was hoped that contracts for the Kenyan side would be signed in the coming weeks.

Map: The 1,045-km line will bring electricity to Kenya from Ethiopia, which is building the 6,000MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and other renewable power schemes (Stratfor)