Current Issue 52
Building a World-class National Grid
Kenya Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd. aims to provide reliable, efficient and effective electricity transmission throughout all of its projects, promoting power trade for sustainable socio-economic development
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Donovan Smith
Kenya Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd. (KETRACO) has built its success upon the mandate to plan, design, construct, own, operate and maintain high voltage electricity transmission grids, as well as the regional interconnectors that form the backbone of the National Transmission Grid.
Through these acts, the Company has become respected when it comes to developing new and robust grid systems that will enable improved quality and reliability of electricity supply throughout the country, while also transmitting electricity to areas that are currently not supplied from the national grid.
“In projects such as the aforementioned, we pride ourselves on being able to provide a link with the neighbouring countries in order to facilitate power exchanges while developing electricity trades in the region,” explains the Company on its website. “We are also able to reduce transmission losses that presently cost the country heavily, as well as reducing the cost of electricity to the consumer.”
The Company was incorporated on the 2 December, 2008 and is a 100 percent government owned State Corporation, regulated under the State Corporations Act, Cap 446.
“Initially KETRACO was established to develop a new high voltage electricity transmission infrastructure that would be able to form the backbone of the National Transmission Grid, falling in line with Kenya Vision 2030,” continues the Company. “Our core business is centralised around planning, building and maintaining electricity transmission lines and associated substations, with our voltage rating of the transmission lines including 132kV, 220kV, 400kV and 500kV.”
Transforming power transmission
The creation of KETRACO emerged out of necessity, stemming from the desire of the Government to transform power transmission in the country into open access systems to allow large electricity customers to purchase power from generators.
The Company adds: “In some of the projects we have been working on - specifically the Electric Grids Interconnection Project (NELSAP) - the Government has viewed open access as having the potential to enhance both market and supply options for both the power generation and larger consumers.”
Alongside creating a company that could cope with the demands of projects of this nature, KETRACO was also built upon the aim to shield electricity consumers from the emergence of higher tariffs in the future, which would likely arise from construction of the expensive power transmission infrastructure.
“We are in the fortunate position that projects undertaken will be fully funded by the Government and subsequently, no capital related expenses will be passed onto the consumer,” affirms the Company. “This enables us to positively contribute to the improvement of power quality, supply and affordability.”
The Company has been subject to many accolades within the industry and recently became the winners of the 2016 SAP Quality Awards, which recognises the best customer implementation projects across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“We felt incredible privileged to even be considered for the SAP Quality Awards,” explains the Company. “It honours customers for their exceptionally successful SAP implementation projects, taking into account the delivery of business value and whether the projects were delivered on time and within or even under budget; our success with the winning project came down to precise planning and execution of that plan.”
The judges decided to give the award to Ketraco’s Kipepeo project gold in the Fast Delivery Category; this was in recognition of the complexity of the project supported by INDRA Ltd.
The Company continued: “KETRACO leveraged SAP quality assurance during the blueprint phase, which perfectly highlighted the issues that couldn’t be solved before the project started and ensured we would successfully implement the SAP ERP in a space of seven months for 250 users.”
The Company is closely standing by the values of Kenya’s Vision 2030, which has identified challenges that majorly need to be addressed in the Energy Sector, while also outlining the National Flagship projects and key support initiatives that need to be addressed.
“We will be contributing to the national infrastructure and energy sector support initiatives through the development of new and robust national grid systems,” explains the Company. “This will enable us to improve quality and reliability of electricity supply throughout the country, providing electricity to areas that are currently not receiving supplies from the national grid.”
KETRACO will also be providing a link to the neighbouring countries in order to facilitate development of the electricity trade and power exchange in the region.
The Company states: “In line with our mandate, we have been able to identify implementation on a priority basis for a total of 1,471km of 132kV lines, 645km of 220KV lines, 608km of 400KV lines and 686km of 500KV HVDC lines, some of which will be implemented over the next three to four years.”
There is a lot of exciting work to be done for the Company over the next five years, with plans for KETRACO to construct more than 4,000km of high voltage transmission infrastructure that comprises lines, switch gears and sub-stations across the country.
The Company concludes: “Not only will this enable us to open up geographical areas that don’t currently have access to the national grid, it will also enhance our capacity of evacuating power from planned generating plants and build inter-connectors, meaning we will be facilitating regional power trade with neighbouring countries; something we hope to continue working on in the near future.”