KETRACO plans to construct 12 transmission lines and 14 substations along the SGR line.
Through a gazette notice filed by National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) has sought approval from the environmental watchdog to electrify the Sh327 billion ($3.2bn) line between Mombasa and Nairobi.
“Kenya Electricity Transmission Company is proposing to construct twelve (12) transmission lines and fourteen (14) substations for supply of high voltage power to the Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway Line (SGR) and the economic belt along the railway line,” said NEMA in a public call for views on the project, which is expected to take 28 months.
In its latest Kenya Gazette notice NEMA says KETRACO and is seeking to construct 12 transmission lines and 14 substations along the SGR line and as a result filed an Environmental Impact Assessment test to be given the green light to go ahead.
“The proposed project will traverse five (5) counties: Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Makueni, and Machakos counties,”
The electrification process running the entire 472km line is expected to cost $240 million.
Ketraco in January signed a $240 million (Sh24.4 billion) loan deal with China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company Limited (CET) for the electrification.
The design of the SGR rail line, currently running on diesel-powered engines allows for the addition of a single electric line.
An electric track was mooted for fast movement of bigger containers and passengers in the quest to boost East Africa’s competitiveness as an investment destination.
The electricity is expected to spur growth of factories, businesses and urban centres along the railway line, Ketraco added.
Since being launched in June 31st 2017 by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Standard Gauge Railway has raked in more than Sh1 billion ($10m) in passenger sales.
According to Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina, the train dubbled Madaraka Express has within that period ferried 1.3 million passengers.
Kenya Railway biggest headache however remains its freight services which the country had relied to make the project commercially viable. The service has struggled to pick up since it was launched early this year.