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Project Update

500 kV HVDC Ethiopia–Kenya Link [free access]

March 11, 2021

Developers: Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) and Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO)


Project details and status: The 500 kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) line aims to link the power grids of Ethiopia and Kenya, create power-sharing between the two countries, reduce energy costs, and promote sustainable and renewable power generation. It is the first HVDC line in East Africa and a major channel of outbound power transmission for Ethiopia.


The interconnector entails the construction of a 1,045-km, ±500 kV HVDC bipole overhead transmission line, which will run from the Wolaita Sodo substation in Ethiopia to the Suswa substation in Kenya. Of the total line length, 612 km lies in Kenya and 433 km in Ethiopia (complete). The project also includes the construction of two 2,000 MW, ±500 kV, HVDC bipolar converter stations, one at Wolaita Sodo in Ethiopia and the other at Suswa in Kenya.


The total cost the project is USD1.26 billion. Of this, the African Development Bank (AfDB) will provide USD338 million, the World Bank – USD684 million, Agence Française de Development (AFD) – USD118 million, the Ethiopian government – USD32 million, and the Kenyan government – USD88 million.


China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company Limited (CET) is responsible for the construction of the Ethiopian section of the transmission line while India’s KEC International, Larsen & Turbo (L&T) and Kalapataru Power Transmission Limited (KPTL) will construct the Kenyan section. Siemens in consortium with Isolux Corsan will undertake the construction of the converter stations and AC substations in both Ethiopia and Kenya.


In February 2021 it was reported that Kenya was expected to complete its portion by June 2021. The construction is complete on the Ethiopian side, while Kenya’s section is over 90 per cent complete and is expected to be energised by early next year.