The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) has signed a $240m contract with China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company (CET) for the electrification of the SGR rail line.
The SGR rail line connects the cities of Mombasa and Nairobi and is currently operated by diesel-powered locomotives.
A total of 14 substations will be built between the two cities as part of the project, which will enable the SGR rail line to operate using clean power to reduce carbon emissions.
The initiative is also expected to facilitate the development of industries, factories and businesses along the Mombasa-Nairobi economic belt.
The SGR railway’s design will also allow the addition of a single electric line that is planned to be connected to KETRACO’s 482km-long, 400kV Mombasa-Nairobi Transmission Line (MNTL), which has a transfer capacity of 1,500MW.
It was primarily built to address challenges derived from the low voltages, high transmission losses and unreliable power supply of Kenya’s national grid system.
The electrification of the Mombasa-Nairobi rail line is expected to be completed in 28 months.
Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta originally highlighted the introduction and management of low-carbon, efficient transportation systems in the country during an address at the Conference of Parties (COP21) Global Climate Summit in Paris in 2015.
The new electrification project is expected to help Kenya transition from a high to a low carbon transport sector.
A joint report released by International Union of Railways and Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies previously noted that travelling by rail is on average three to ten times less CO2 intensive than road or air transportation options.