Project costs Ethiopia USD 110 million
Securing finances for the project from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Ethiopia-Kenya Power Interconnection project is set to commence from the Ethiopian side soon.
Sources told The Reporter that the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) has hired China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Co. Ltd. (CET), a sister company of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) to construct bidirectional 2000MW electric power transmission lines that stretch a total length of 434km until the Kenyan border. The project is said to cost some 110 million dollars. Last year the AfDB approved the stated amount of credit to provide to EEP. The Chinese contractor has been awarded to develop the transmission lines in two major lots. The first stretches from Wolaita–Sodo to Konso substations and the second runs from Konso town to the Kenyan border.
As part of the East African Power Pool project, dubbed “the eastern electricity highway project” seeks to interconnect both Ethiopia and Kenya with a high voltage direct current electric power transmission lines. Hence, the high voltage direct current transmission lines are intended to stretch from substation installed in Wolaita-Sodo town, carrying 500kv with potentials of transmitting 2000MW both ways. The lines will stretch all the way to a substation located in Kenya at a place called Suswa. According to the documents, the high voltage power transmission project intends future plans where the flow of power to be both ways. However, at the initial operation and as it had been agreed between the two governments, it is Ethiopia that provides a total of 400MW electric power to Kenya.
The project document mentions that at both ends, activities such as installing converter stations, substations, extension of existing substations, installation of ground electrodes and related building, fitting of fiber optic communications systems are works, the contractor is expected to perform.
The turnkey project is expected to be finalized in 2018 though it is rumored that the contractor is geared to finalize the works by the end of next year. Sources said that the civil work has already been started in August. The project was expected to officially commence on Monday with the presence of high level officials until EEP canceled it on Friday.
SGCC has been a major player in Ethiopia since 2012. Back in 2013, the then Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) inked some 1.2 billion dollars project to install transmission lines which will connect power generated by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with the national grid. Currently, CET has completed the installation of two huge substations installed in Holeta and Dedessa areas each with potentials of transmitting 500kv. However, the substations are idle as the Italian contactor; Salini Construction is still working to finalize the construction of the dam. [reporter]