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Egypt moves from electricity deficit to sufficiency– with 8 fossil fuel plants, renewable energy and Saudi-Egypt electricity connectivity | BE2C2 | Irshad Salim Associates

Egypt moves from electricity deficit to sufficiency– with 8 fossil fuel plants, renewable energy and Saudi-Egypt electricity connectivity

Egypt moves from electricity deficit to sufficiency– with 8 fossil fuel plants, renewable energy and Saudi-Egypt electricity connectivity

BE2C2 Report — Egypt’s electricity shortage crisis ebbed to a degree with the opening of three ma­jor power plants in March while it makes efforts to diversify electricity sources with wind, solar and nuclear plants. And, with the electricity interconnectivity project due to be completed be­tween Saudi Arabia and Egypt in 2019, the former seeks to convert deficit to sufficiency.

“Huge work is being done in this country to end the problem,” said Gamal al-Qaluibi, a power engineering professor at Cairo Universi­ty. “In less than two years, the government managed to end electrical power shortages and even pave the road for surpluses,” the professor said, quoted Arab Weekly.

When they are operating fully in 2018 as expected, the three 4,400 MW electrical power plants , one in the central province of Beni Suef and the others in the new capital being built on the outskirts of Cairo, will produce 14,000 megawatts of electricity every year.

The Ministry of Electricity will receive offers from five companies to establish a 6,000 MW coal-fueled power plant in Hamrawein this year. The Ministry will receive offers from Shanghai Electric, Dongfang Electric Corporation, General Electric, Mitsubishi-Hitachi, and Doosan, a local Egyptian daily reported in November.

In 2013, Egypt produced 24,000 MW but 29,000 MW were needed to bring light to all households, make factory machines run, power equipment at hospitals and bring energy to farmland.

The government was actively asking the public to economize on electricity consumption, turn off air conditioning and do without half of the light bulbs at home. However, consumption rationalization did not reduce daily outages, which sometimes brought hospital equipment to a standstill.

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Egypt then launched an aggressive plan to prevent the outages by constructing eight massive power plants.

The three power plants that opened in March were designed and constructed by the German electronics manufacturing giant Siemens at the cost of $6.4 billion. Each of the plants will produce 4,800 MW of electricity annually at peak operations.

The plants are only a small item on the plan to achieve electricity sufficiency in Egypt, the Electricity Ministry said.

“Our plan includes a diversification of electricity sources,” said Ayman Hamza, spokesman for the Electricity Ministry. “The plan aims to end electricity outages for good and secure needs for many years to come.”

Egypt’s plan to end the outages includes exploitation of renewable energies also.

The government is actively encouraging the private sector to establish its own solar and wind farms. It installed huge solar panels on the roofs of hundreds of government buildings and encourages Egyptians to create solar power plants on their home roofs. Some Egyptians sell electricity produced by their solar panels to the national grid.

Egypt is expected to sign a contract at the end of April for a nuclear power plant in Dabaa, which will be built in northwestern Egypt by Russian company Rosatom. The plant, which will include four nuclear reactors, each producing 1,200 MW of electricity by completion in 2022, will cost $30 billion.

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A 3000 MW electricity interconnectivity project is due to be completed between Saudi Arabia and Egypt in 2019. Both countries will benefit from the bidirectional power usage — even export electricity to other countries in Africa and Europe, some reports have said.

The Egyptian ministry also aims to increase electricity interconnection lines with other Arab countries to 2,000 MW alongside the Saudi-Egypt electricity interconnection project of 3000 MW.

All these measures mean one thing: Electricity outages will become a thing of the past, Hamza said.

“A power cuts-free summer will start in our country in a matter of few weeks from now for the first time in almost a decade,” he said.

Abundant electricity production, economists said, will help Egypt attract international investment.

Energy experts said, however, the electricity sufficiency should not blind Egyptians to the fact that fossil fuels are finite, which means that Egypt should increase its dependency on renewable energy.

Renewable energy contributes only 3 percent of total electrical power generated in Egypt now. The country has hopes to raise that figure to 20 percent by 2022.

“According to specialized studies, fossil fuels will start running out a short time from now,” said Youssri Abu Shadi, an energy expert and a former International Atomic Energy Agency inspector. “This means that dependence on renewable energies is not optional for a country like Egypt.”

 

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BE2C2 is a business unit of Irshad Salim Associates  which produces reports, infographics, analytics and analyses based on available data and related information from sources readily available on the web and in the public domain.

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