Ethiopia and Kenya secure funds for $1.26 bln power line

Aaron Maasho
October 23, 2013
(Blank Headline Received)
A high voltage electrical pylon stands on the outskirts of Kenya's capital Nairobi, March 14, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

By Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia and Kenya have secured funds for a $1.26 billion power line aimed at improving electricity supply and the project is set for completion in two years' time, an Ethiopian official said on Wednesday.

Addis Ababa is poised to generate more revenue from power exports to its neighbour, beyond the border northern Kenyan town of Moyale which is already receiving a small amount.

Though it has been investing in infrastructure, including expanding power supplies, Kenya has struggled to meet demand and faces constant blackouts.

"Everything is as per schedule. We expect it will be completed on time ... after two years," Alemayehu Tegenu, Ethiopia's minister of water and energy, told Reuters.

The project - a 1,068 km high-voltage transmission line with a capacity of 2,000 MW - is co-funded by the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the French Development Agency and the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments.

The electricity will originate from a number of existing and planned power plants in Ethiopia.

Analysts estimate that the hydropower potential of Ethiopia - blessed with cascading rivers flowing through rugged mountains - is around 45,000 MW.

In a bid to become a major power exporter, Ethiopia is also building a 6,000 MW mega dam on the Nile, which is set for completion in four years' time. Addis Ababa already exports up to 65 MW to Djibouti and about 100 MW to Sudan.