Siemens to build HVDC link for efficient power transmission between Ethiopia and Kenya

October 28, 2015
Erlangen

In a consortium with the construction company Isolux Corsan, Siemens is constructing a high-voltage direct current transmission link between Ethiopia and Kenya. The roughly 1,000 kilometers-long direct current transmission line, known as the Ethiopia-Kenya Power Systems Interconnection Project, will transmit environmentally friendly hydroelectricity from Ethiopia to Kenya. Furthermore the HVDC link will improve the exchange of energy between the two countries and optimize the use of distributed energy sources in this region. 

The order was placed by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO) and the Kenya Electricity Transmission Co. Ltd. (KETRACO). The total value of the project, which is being financed by the World Bank and the African Development Bank, is worth approximately US-Dollar 450 million. The HVDC link is scheduled to go into operation by the end of 2018.

“The HVDC transmission link is one of the largest infrastructure measures in East Africa and is what makes it possible to expand the AC power grids from Kenya to neighbor countries like Uganda and Tanzania, a development that is urgently needed. With this HVDC link, we are proud to be able to help provide a secure energy supply for East Africa”, said Jan Mrosik, CEO of Siemens’ Energy Management Division.

The bipolar system has a capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW) and will connect the two converter stations located in Kenya and Ethiopia with a direct current +/-500-kilovolt overhead line. Siemens is supplying the core components for the HVDC transmission technology, such as converter valves with direct light-triggered power thyristors, converter transformers, smoothing reactors, protection and control equipment, as well as AC and DC filters. Isolux is responsible for the construction, installation, and equipment in the converter and AC substations.

High-voltage direct current transmission (HVDC) is the solution for the low-loss transport of large amounts of electrical power over long distances. For transmission links of typically more than 600 kilometers, overhead line connections using HVDC technology are more efficient than alternating current transmission system technology. With cable connections, the efficiency limit is approximately 80 kilometers. Compared to a comparable alternating current transmission link, an HVDC link has a much lower transmission loss. In addition, with the same trench width, an HVDC link can generally transmit 30 to 40 percent more power than an alternating current trench. HVDC links can also limit the spread of faults between connected alternating current grids, thus preventing power failures. Siemens is a leading global supplier of innovative systems and solutions for high voltage direct current transmission.

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Siemens Energy is one of the world’s leading energy technology companies. The company works with its customers and partners on energy systems for the future, thus supporting the transition to a more sustainable world. With its portfolio of products, solutions and services, Siemens Energy covers almost the entire energy value chain – from power generation and transmission to storage. The portfolio includes conventional and renewable energy technology, such as gas and steam turbines, hybrid power plants operated with hydrogen, and power generators and transformers. More than 50 percent of the portfolio has already been decarbonized. A majority stake in the listed company Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) makes Siemens Energy a global market leader for renewable energies. An estimated one-sixth of the electricity generated worldwide is based on technologies from Siemens Energy. Siemens Energy employs more than 90,000 people worldwide in more than 90 countries and generated revenue of around €27.5 billion in fiscal year 2020.

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