THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $145 million (about TSH 261bn) loan to fund the building of an electricity line between Tanzania and Kenya to improve regional power connections.
AfDB said in a statement that the funding would help construct 507.5 km of transmission lines and substations along its path to allow for the transfer of 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity in either direction between Kenya and Tanzania.
“The Kenya-Tanzania Interconnection Project plays an important role in promoting regional integration through power trade,” AfDB said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the two countries said they were seeking a consultant to oversee the construction of the line. The Kenya-Tanzania interconnection project will involve the construction of a total of 507.5 km of 400Kv high voltage alternative current (HVAC) transmission line in double circuit from Isinya Substation in Kenya to Singida Substation in Tanzania.
A total of 93.1 km of the line is in Kenya and 414.5 km in Tanzania. The transfer capacity of the interconnector is designed for 2,400 MW.
The associated substation works include the extension of the existing Isinya (Kenya) and Iringa (Tanzania) substations to include 400 kV transformers, and the construction of a new 400kV substation in Arusha.
East Africa has some of the fastest growing economies on the continent but electricity shortages deter investment, pushing up business costs and sustaining poverty and inequality.
Kenya is adding 5,000 MW on installed capacity by 2017 from about 1,664 MW now. Tanzania aims to double its generation capacity to 3,000 MW by 2016.
Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia said in December they will spend $1.4 billion to link their power grids by 2018 and create a regional power pool for trading electricity.
Ethiopia and Kenya are also constructing a power line aimed at improving electricity supply between the two countries. Southern Africa already has a series of interconnections linking countries, including South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, which allows them to trade power.