ABB has been awarded a contract by the national electric utility Kenya Power to modernize an existing 132kV substation in Nairobi, aimed at strengthening the grid.

Under the $24m contract, ABB will replace the 50-year-old air-insulated switchgear at the Juja Road substation with space-saving gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) and will improve power transformer capacity by more than 50%.

Work under the contract is scheduled to be completed in 2017. The upgraded substation is expected to be one of the largest GIS substations of its kind in eastern Africa.

ABB will be responsible for substation design, supply, installation and commissioning, as part of the contract.

ABB Power Systems division head Claudio Facchin said: "The modernized indoor substation will help enhance power supplies to meet the increasing demand for electricity from residential consumers and businesses operating in the city.

"ABB’s compact GIS technology will reduce the substation’s footprint significantly, while enhancing aesthetics and increasing safety, efficiency and reliability."