, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – President Uhuru Kenyatta today commissioned an ultra-modern 220 Kv gas insulated substation to improve the power supply in Nairobi.
The substation, the first of its kind in East and Central Africa, will handle the power coming from the Olkaria Geothermal Power Station and will create an alternative power chain for the city.
“The Sh13 billion project, will greatly improve the quality of power in Nairobi’s City Centre, serving the Industrial area, Mombasa road, Upperhill, the entire Central Business District (CBD), Lower hill and Kilimani area,” said President Kenyatta when he spoke at the event at GIS station on Bunyala Road. “It therefore creates additional contingency in electricity supply thus enhancing the reliability of power in this area,” added the President.
Gas Insulated Substations are high voltage substations in which the major structures are contained in a sealed environment. It is reliable, requires little maintenance and is compact thus requiring little space.
President Kenyatta said the improvement of power supply in the city is aimed at creating a conducive environment for business and industry so that they can, in turn, create more jobs for Kenyans.
“This initiative feeds into one of the key pillars of the Big Four Agenda, Enhancing Manufacturing, to create quality jobs for Kenyans,” said the President
He added that the Government will remain steadfast in supporting the concept of Build Kenya Buy Kenya, to guarantee increased job creation and growth of local industries.
He said the Government is committed to greatly increase the transmission and distribution network for power.
Since 2013, over 1400Km of transmission lines have been completed, with another 2300Km in progress. Furthermore, a total of 33,900 km of distribution lines and 69 new substations have been completed over the past five years.
“This has seen industries enjoy more stable power and households experiencing reduced power outages,” said the President.
President Kenyatta, who was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto and Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, said the expanded national access to electricity has been achieved through various connectivity initiatives such as the Last Mile Connectivity Project, the electrification of public facilities and the Global Partnership on Output Based Aid (GPOBA) programme targeting people living in informal settlements.
“These programmes are a major pillar in our plan to sustain the rapid pace of electricity connections in the quest to achieve universal access to electricity by the year 2022,” said the President.
He said the Government will take measures to control vandalism, a major problem for Kenya’s infrastructure development.
CS Keter had informed the President that vandalism is one of the big reasons costs of infrastructure development expands after initial plans.
President Kenyatta’s Government has also invested heavily in power generation.
The proportion of geothermal capacity increased to 28.43% from 14.8% in 2013, significantly reducing dependence on generation from expensive diesel power plants.
The total number of customers connected stands at 6.7 million translating to a national electricity access of 74% against 27pc in 2013.
President Kenyatta challenged Kenya Power to strive to become the biggest corporation in Kenya since it has the potential for that achievement.
The Energy Cabinet Secretary said the Ministry of Energy is working with the relevant stakeholders to implement a single power tariff.
According to Liu Xin, the General Manager of TBEA CO. LTD the company that built the substation, the substation adopted the most advanced technology and smart systems.
He said the substation will boost the power supply in the city by reducing power interruption.
“This is the biggest substation in East Africa region. It will minimize power interruption in Nairobi City,” said Xin.
He said the firm will do more of such modern substations in the country to improve the national power supply.
Xin said the Gas Insulated Substation Technology at this high voltage level was transferred to Kenya Power staff through training program in TBEA’s factory.
“The project accelerated local employment in the past few years during its construction process.”
According to the Chinese Economic and Commercial Counsellor Guo Ce, the substation is financed by Chinese Government through a concessional loan from the Exim Bank of China.