New transmission line to deliver geothermal power to port town of Mombasa, Kenya

Mombasa, Kenya (source: flickr/ Victor Ochieng, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 20 Feb 2017

Following a recent court ruling, work on the last part of a transmission line connecting Nairobi and port city of Mombasa in Kenya can now be finished and deliver cheaper geothermal electricity from Olkaria.

Legal obstacles to a new electricity transmission line to connect the harbour town of Mombasa to Nairobi have been solved, after an injunction by landowners have been set aside by a judge.

With that households and industries will be able to profit from cheaper geothermal power, as the Nairobi-Mombasa transmission line will enable electricity generated from geothermal power plants at Olkaria to be transmitted to Mombasa.

The 482 km long transmission line is now being rushed to be finished by India-based Kapataru Power.  The high-voltage substations at Isinya, Rabai and Embakasi are being built by German company Siemens.


The Kenya Electricity Transmission Co (Ketraco) successfully contested orders issued by judge George Odunga on December 22, 2016 stopping works on land belonging to the five petitioners.

The legal battle by five landowners resulted in a five kilometre stretch not being finished, while the rest of the transmission is already completed.

Upon completion of the line, residents in the port city of Mombasa will for the first time get connection to cheaper steam power from the Olkaria complex, and cut dependence on thermal power. This will have the effect of reducing diesel fuel charge on Kenya Power consumers’ monthly bills.

It is hoped that the transmission line can now be completed by June 2017.


Ketraco said that once the line is complete, it will “improve the power system stability, reliability and reduce technical losses and play a major role in the regional power trade.”

Expensive diesel power generators Kipevu I — with an installed capacity of 73.5 megawatts, and Kipevu III (120MW) — both owned by State-backed KenGen, are due to be switched off.

Works on the Sh14 billion power line linking the capital city and Mombasa began in August 2011 and was expected to be complete in three years’ time.

The Energy Regulatory Commission reckons that part of the steam power generated at Olkaria is lying idle because there are no transmission lines to Western Kenya and the coast, areas which experience constant system disturbances and instability.

Ketraco was set up in December 2008 with a mandate to build and maintain high voltage electricity transmission infrastructure which feeds into Kenya Power’s distribution and retail lines.

Source: Business Daily Africa