The Ethiopian part of the Eastern Electricity Highway Project has been completed. The aim is to build a high-voltage line to connect the Kenyan and Ethiopian power grids. The Ethiopian part of this mega project extends over 437 km.
The 1,045-km of Kenya-Ethiopia power line (437 km in Ethiopia and 612 km in Kenya) will enable Kenya to import cheaper electricity from hydroelectric projects in Ethiopia while setting the stage for inter-regional trade in energy.
The 500 KV electricity highways, which runs from Wolayita Sodo in Ethiopia to Suswa in Kenya, will have power, transportation capacity of 2,000MW in either direction. It will be the region’s first 500kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) line.
Kenya had signed an agreement to purchase 400MW of electricity from Ethiopia and that it was keen to raise the power imports when Ethiopia completes several power projects currently under construction.
In the agreement, Kenya will buy 400 MW of hydropower from Ethiopia at a fixed tariff of Sh7 per unit for domestic use. Ethiopia currently exports electricity to Djibouti and Sudan
The Kenya-Ethiopia electricity highway project is being undertaken by a consortium of contractors comprising Germany-based Siemens for the converter station, KEC International of India, Larsen, and Toubro of India and Kalpataru Power Transmission of India. China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company is overseeing the line construction.
The entire mega project will cost a total investment of $1.26 billion. Kenya and Ethiopia are contributing $88 million and $32 million respectively.
The rest of the financing is provided by the World Bank ($684 million), the African Development Bank ($338 million) and the French Development Agency ($118 million).