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Tanzania and Kenya jointly build power projects

Tanzania and Kenya jointly build power projects

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Beginning in 2016, Kenya and Tanzania signed an international power supply network contract linking East Africa with southern African countries.

Kenya also plans to extend its transmission line to Ethiopia, while Tanzania will extend its line to Zambia. This will connect the East African region to the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP), where connected countries will be able to buy and sell electricity from each other.

The Kenya-Tanzania Power Interconnection Project is being implemented under the framework of the East African Power Pool (EAPP). The interconnector project involves the construction of about 510 kilometres of high voltage alternating current (HVAC) transmission line from Kenya to Tanzania, the upgrade of Isinya (Kenya) and Singida (Tanzania) substations as well as the construction of the Arusha substation. Overall, at least five modern sub-stations will be built to ensure smooth power transmission between the two countries.

On Kenya's side, the project involves the construction of 400kV transmission line from Isinya substation to the Namanga border and the upgrade of the 400/220kV Isinya substation. While for Tanzania has to construct a 400kV transmission line from Namanga border to Singida, the 400kV Arusha substation as well as upgrade the 220/33kV Singida substation.

The works in Kenya are financed by the government and African Development Bank (AfDB) at a cost of $4.25 million and $22.42 million respectively, while the Tanzanian project costs $258 million and is funded by a loan from AfDB and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The Kenya-Tanzania transmission line is geared towards enabling the East African neighbours to share electricity easily while reducing operational costs of energy production. More so, the project will help both countries replace high-cost thermal energy with cheaper hydropower, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

For Tanzania, the interconnector is part of a grand plan to have 400kV transmission line interconnections with as many countries as possible so that when the Stiegler's Gorge 2,100 megawatts Hydroelectric Power Station becomes operational in Tanzania, the country can easily sell the surplus power to connected countries.

The Tanzanian government is also considering a 200kV Uganda-Tanzania transmission line to run from Masaka to Mwanza, and interconnections with power grids in Mozambique, Rwanda, Burundi, and Malawi, Manirabona revealed.

Over the years, the demand for power has increased substantially due to population growth across Africa. In order to address this, several initiatives have been introduced among which are regional power pools, to encourage the regional interchange of affordable and stable power.

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