Hydroelectricity

PSECC Ltd – Lapsset Corridor Energy & Water Strategy coordinators

Grand Falls Dam

The Grand Falls Dam also known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be included in the funding for Lapsset Corridor, is rated at approximately 6,450 megawatts (MW). This means that the dam has the capacity to generate a maximum of 6,450 MW of electricity when operating at full capacity. This makes it one of the largest hydropower projects in Africa.

The Grand Falls Dam is a hydropower project constructed on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia, not Kenya. The dam is primarily designed for electricity generation rather than water storage. It has a reservoir that fills up with water from the Blue Nile, a river that carries mostly freshwater from the Ethiopian highlands. So, while the primary purpose of the dam is not to store fresh water for drinking or irrigation, the reservoir created behind the dam does contain freshwater from the river. This water can be used for various purposes, but its main function is to generate hydroelectric power.

According to the latest available data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Energy, the current hydroelectricity production in Kenya stands at around 820 Megawatts (MW). This includes electricity generated from various hydroelectric power plants such as Sondu-Miriu (60 MW), Turkwel Gorge (105 MW), Kindaruma (72 MW), Gitaru (225 MW), and others. Kenya aims to increase its hydroelectricity production capacity through ongoing projects such as the 83 MW Olkaria V geothermal project and the 47 MW Masinga Dam rehabilitation project.

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), also known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, is located on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia and is not within the LAPSSET (Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport) corridor. As we have have seen the LAPSSET corridor is a regional infrastructure project that aims to connect Kenya, South Sudan, and Ethiopia through a network of road, rail, pipeline, and communication links to facilitate regional trade and development. While the GERD is not directly part of the LAPSSET corridor, it could potentially benefit from enhanced regional connectivity once the LAPSSET project is fully operational, as it could facilitate the export of electricity generated by the dam to neighbouring countries in the region.

Construction of High Grand Falls dam on River Tana in Kenya is yet to begin four years after GBM Engineering Consortium won the tender to finance, design, build, operate, and transfer the Sh250 billion dam. The hiring of the London-based company in September 2018 followed a decision by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPRB), a state agency that resolves tender disputes, to uphold the award of the contract to the firm. GBM Engineering won the deal in a tendering process featuring seven companies (five of them Chinese), but the National Irrigation Board (NIB) declined to accept its win.

The PPRB heard the matter and determined the dispute in favour of GBM on July 4, 2018. The agency directed the NIB to conclude the tendering process within 30 days.NIB disregarded the ruling and cancelled the tender.The PPRB later ruled that the government had no legal basis to cancel the tender or delay its award to the British firm.Dubbed High Grand Falls Dam, the water reservoir will be built off Kibuka Falls on River Tana – straddling Kitui and Tharaka Nithi counties.  

5.6 billion cubic metres

The dam, which was conceived in 2009, covers 165 sq km and will hold 5.6 billion cubic metres of water that will nourish the Lamu Port and resort city while adding nearly 700MW to the national power grid. This makes it the largest water storage facility in the country.

Ministry Dam projects for Kenya

PPP Dam project structure

Isiolo Dam 16MW

Isiolo Dam

Project Information

The proposed Isiolo Dam project within the Lapsset Corridor is located near Isiolo town in central Kenya. Isiolo town is 274 kilometres from Nairobi City. The project involves construction of a dam located at the border of Isiolo, Samburu and Laikipia Counties at Oldonyiro on Ewaso Nyiro River. The primary goal of the project is to increase daily water supply for domestic/industrial use by 58,473m3/d and provide 46,656m3/d to irrigate up to 540Ha. The demand area includes the proposed Isiolo Resort City. During the concession period, the proposed project will include the building, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of a minimum 315 MCM water storage reservoir and 58,473m3/d WTP. Additionally, the project will construct storage reservoirs, transmission and distribution pipelines including last mile connectivity, and conveyance for irrigation water to the user point. An option for hydropower generation is included.