Kenya Transmission Projects Feasibility Study

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Client: Kenya Power and Lighting Company
Location: Kenya

Power to the people

East Africa, like much of the world, has seen demand for electricity increase rapidly in recent years. In 2002, Kenya Power and Lighting Company’s electric transmission system was reaching capacity. Demand for electricity was growing at 4.9 percent, and generation was expected to increase from 1300MW to 2900MW by 2022.

To keep up with this rapid increase in demand, Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) needed to upgrade its transmission system.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency came to the rescue, extending its largest-ever grant to Kenya. This grant, the first issued to Kenya in 10 years, funded a feasibility study of four high-priority transmission projects to improve Kenya’s distribution grid.

Project description

KPLC selected POWER Engineers to assess the electric transmission grid and develop feasible improvement options to add the infrastructure required to distribute the new generation. The study also investigated the benefits of developing or improving transmission interties with neighboring countries Uganda and Tanzania to facilitate the purchase and sale of energy between the countries to minimize the effects of localized droughts.

POWER Engineers’ review and analysis was needed to prioritize projects and to help acquire the funding to get them built. Four planned projects were analyzed: Kamburu-Meru 132 kV Line (150 km); Olkaria-Lessos 220 kV Line (170 km); Lessos-Kisumu 132 kV Line (85 km); and the Naivasha-Lanet Substation Upgrade.

Two lines and a substation 

One component of the technical side of the study was the development of a computer model of the entire KPLC bulk electric transmission system. Potential improvements to the system were then input into the computer for evaluation.

A KPLC staff engineer was invited to POWER Engineers’ Atlanta, Georgia, office to work alongside the project staff to gain an understanding of the equipment and design technologies used in the feasibility study.

POWER Engineers also prepared an Environmental Impact Assessment document in accordance with Kenyan requirements that evaluated the impacts of constructing each of the alternate plans.

International experience 

This study contract gave POWER Engineers exposure to important entities such as the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. These associations have helped POWER Engineers expand its international presence and diversify into projects that are supported through governmental and agency funding.

Improvement recommendations

From its analysis, POWER Engineers made the following recommendations to prioritize improvements to Kenya’s national system:

Based on the study, the World Bank and other developmental banking institutions funded the construction of the new lines, and KPLC has begun building them.

Project details