World Bank disburses loan for regional power pool project

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Loan agreement of part of the Ethio-Kenya power transmission line project was officially signed between the World Bank and Kenyan authorities on Thursday December 6. The international finance source board decided to provide the loan for the regional power integration project early this year. The Kenyan Finance Minister, Njeru Githae and World Bank Kenya Director Johannes Zutt have signed part of the 603 million dollar loan agreement for the project that commences in the coming year. From the total loan Kenya will receive 436 million birr for the construction. The 500kv transmission line that will connect Kenya’s electricity grid to the Ethiopian one is expected to take five years. The recurrent power shortage in Kenya is expected to be overcome after the transmission is fully finalized. Currently the Kenyan Moyale town that borders with Ethiopia is getting power from Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo). Miheret Debebe, CEO of EEPCo, said that another border town of Kenya will get power from EEPCo in the near future. Kenya hopes the project will lead to lower energy costs and attract more investors. The Kenyan government study on the least-cost power development plan by the Ministry of Energy has recognised that power imports from neighbouring countries are cost effective. Apart from the transmission line, converter stations will be erected at Wolayta-Sodo (Ethiopia) and Suswa (Kenya), with a power transfer capacity of up to 2,000MW. The integration of the power system is hoped to create a “power pool” plugging into Ethiopia’s massive hydro-power resources, enabling Ethiopia to sell its surplus electricity to Kenya. The 1.26 billion dollar cross-border power line will be co-financed by the two governments, the World Bank, African Development Bank and the French Agency for Development. In September, the African Development Bank approved a 348 million dollar loan for part financing of the cross-border electricity infrastructure project. The Eastern Electricity Highway Project is intended to promote electricity trade between East African economies whose energy demand is expected to rise in less than a decade. The interconnection will eventually bring on board Uganda which is linked to Kenya currently. The new transmission line installed from Ethiopia to Sudan has started its test transmission. CEO of EEPCo Miheret Debebe told journalists that the transmission line project will officially be inaugurated in the presence of the two countries high official in the near future. On the other hand Ethiopia has also signed deal with South Sudan, the newly born neighbouring country to export electricity. Currently, Ethiopia is supplying power to Djibouti, while some border towns in Somaliland are also getting power from Ethiopia.