Bids open for “critical” new power line between Kenya and Tanzania

Bids are being invited in Kenya and Tanzania for the construction of a 510-km power transmission line between the two countries that is expected to be a "critical link" in the emerging east African power grid.

The line will allow the two countries to trade power and is intended to promote regional economic integration, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB) which in February approved a $144.9m loan for the project.

The project involves building approximately 93km of lines in Kenya and 415km in Tanzania, plus associated substations.

The connection will be a "critical link" in a future regional power pool, facilitating the integration of electricity markets between Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, according to Kenya’s power utility, KETRACO.

According to the World Bank, only 23% of Kenyans and 15% of Tanzanians have access to electricity.

In 2008 Kenya’s "Vision 2030" development plan set out the goal of tripling the country’s electricity supply from 1,050MW to 3,000MW by 2018.

Photograph: High-voltage power line in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya (CT Cooper/Wikimedia Commons)

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