Nairobi Ring – Improved Grid Reliability Coming To Kenya’s Largest City

Nairobi’s residents can look forward to improved power supply with the completion of the Nairobi Ring.
Published: Mon 15 Sep 2014

Kenya Electricity Transmission Co’s (KETRACO) ambitious Nairobi Ring project is progressing with a partnership between Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción (IIC) and GE's Digital Energy business to build the 220kV ring component around the Nairobi metropolitan area.

As part of the project, IIC was contracted to build four new substations at Koma Rock (northeast of Nairobi), Athi River (to the southeast of the city), Isinya (to the south) and Ngong (to the west), and upgrade the existing substation in Dandora. GE is supplying substation automation systems (SAS) for all five locations. The project also includes engineering, configuration, panels and factory and site-acceptance tests, as well as training for substation engineers to ensure reliable operation.

“By working with IIC, we have been able to help KETRACO provide safe and reliable power to Kenya's largest city,” said Luis Perez, general manager for GE's Digital Energy business in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Growing power demand

The Nairobi Ring project was conceived to address the growing power demand on the system along with the need to reduce technical losses and improve the quality of power to Kenya’s largest city – home to more than 3 million people, and a growing number of industries, including many international corporations.

The project also includes construction of a fifth new substation at Suswa (northwest of Nairobi), and approximately 100km of new 400kV transmission line between the new Suswa and Isinya substations.

The project is intended to offer an evacuation outlet for the 280MW Olkaria IV geothermal power plant, which cannot reach the city through the existing Nairobi North 220kV double circuit transmission lines. The Nairobi Ring will also allow power from Ethiopia and the Lake Turkana wind project to reach the city, which accounts for approximately 50% of Kenya’s power demand. [Engerati-Network Interconnection in Africa is Critical to Transmission Development]

Transmission works

IIC is also involved in the transmission line works including the diversion of one of the Suswa-Isinya 400kV double circuit lines into the new Ngong substation, and a new 5km 220kV underground cable connecting the expanded Dandora and new Koma Rock substations.

The 400kV Suswa-Isinya line is under construction by Jyoti Structures of India.

At the launch of the substation components in 2012, KETRACO indicated that a then recent study for the period 2010-2030 projected that demand for electricity in Kenya would grow by an average 14% annually to 15,065MW in 2030. By that date, 13,370MW of capacity should be added through an accelerated development program.

Completion of the Nairobi Ring is due in 2015.

Further reading

Engerati-Powering Africa - Kenya