September 5, 2018 / 7:57 AM / 15 days ago

Kenya 428 km power line complete, to add 310 MW to grid by December

LOIYANGALANI, Kenya, Sept 5 Reuters) - A high voltage power line to carry electricity from a 310 megawatt (MW) wind power plant to central Kenya from the north is complete and supply to the national grid will stabilise by December, the energy minister said, replacing diesel generation.

The 266-mile (428km), 400-kilovolt power line is critical for the Lake Turkana Wind Power project, to carry electricity from Loiyangalani in the north to Suswa in the centre of Kenya.

Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems, supplier of the wind farm's 365 turbines, said last year the wind farm was ready for launch but would be idle until the government installed the transmission line.

"What is left now is the official commissioning for the power plant and the transmission line," Energy Minister Charles Keter said on Tuesday during a site tour of the transmission station that will receive the electricity.

"This a very major project, 300 MW. Within the next one month, we will feel the difference once the line has run very well. For me, everything being constant, we are seeing by December we will be comfortable in terms of our generation, and in terms of evacuation (transmission). We will see the cost of power coming down," he said.

Construction of the power line started in November 2015 and had been due to be completed by December last year, but the timeline once more shifted to September.

Kenya, which has more than 6.5 million customers connected to the power grid, has installed generation capacity of 2,351 megawatts (MW) with peak demand of 1,802 MW, it said in June. (Additional reporting and writing by George Obulutsa in Nairobi; editing by David Evans)

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