Power Up: Construction of Ethiopia-Kenyan Electric Highway Begins

Power Up: Construction of Ethiopia-Kenyan Electric Highway Begins

Ethopia  and Kenya are on the verge of getting more electrical power. The two countries have announced that construction of the Ethiopia- Kenya interconnector high-voltage electric highway line will start in September 2013, reports AllAfrica. The World Bank (WB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are proving financing for the much-anticipated project. It is expected to be completed by 2016.

According to AllAfrica, both banks will provide 80 percent of the of the $1.26-billion project. The WB will lend Ethiopia $243 million and $441 million will be lent to Kenya. And AfDB will lend another 242.9 million  for the project. The governments are also providing financing: Ethiopia will contribute $ 21.1 million while Kenya is set to provide $88 million.

Although the venture will be costly, the finished project is expected to generate revenues to Ethiopia, through the export of electricity to Kenya, and boost the volume while reducing the cost of electricity supply in Kenya, explains AllAfrica.

“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,” Meheret Debebe, CEO of the Ethiopian Electrical Power Corporation told the website.

According to AfDB data, the project improve the access to affordable energy to an estimated 870,000 households in Kenya as well as earn $500 million a year for Ethiopia. The power line will span 1,070Km, from Wolayta Sodo, in the Southern Region of Ethiopia, to Suswa, Kenya.

And it will have the capacity to carry 2,000Mw powered by hydroelectric projects in Ethiopia.

The project impact will be far-reaching. “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,” Debebe told AllAfrica.

The project has been in the works since December 2009 when a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments.