EGYPT: As renewable energy producer, country plans to export electricity

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EGYPT: As renewable energy producer, country plans to export electricity ©SeraphP/Shutterstock

The electricity sector is doing wonderfully well in Egypt. This is thanks to the many renewable energy projects that have been developed in recent years, which are due to private electricity producers (IPPs). The dynamism is such that the country now has a surplus of 19,000 MW. Egypt now wants to sell this surplus to its neighbours.

In Egypt, the electricity sector has been dynamic in recent years with the increase in renewable energy projects. In January 2019, for example, the Emirian company, Alcazar Energy, commissioned the first phase of the Nubian Suns solar park 650 km from Cairo, the Egyptian capital. The facility, which cost $68 million to build, has a generating capacity of 64 MW. The Emirates private power producer (IPP) has received financial support from several development partners such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the European Arab Bank, CDC Group, a British government-owned development finance institution and the Arab Bank of Bahrain.

As a result, four IPPs applied for land from the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), the body mandated by the Egyptian government to launch new renewable energy production projects. The allocation of these spaces should enable them to build wind farms with a combined capacity of 400 MW. All these projects are part of the Benban programme, launched by the authorities to encourage IPPs to invest in Egypt. Since then, several projects have been launched in this North African country and it now has a production surplus of 19,000 MW.

A surplus to be invested!

However, the rate of access to electricity in Egypt is 100%. In fact, the country is one of the best performers on the African continent. One might therefore wonder: why this frenetic race towards the construction of new solar and wind power plants? The answer came from Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, who has recently announced Egypt’s intention to sell the surplus to Sudan, Cyprus and Saudi Arabia.

This will require transport lines. In the near future, the government therefore intends to launch calls for tenders for the interconnection project with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which should enable 3,000 MW to be transmitted. The same operation will be carried out in the direction of Sudan to transfer 300 MW.” After the completion of national projects to improve networks and substations, the Egyptian national grid will be able to exchange up to 10,000 MW. This will contribute to the creation of foreign currency income,” said Mohamed Shaker.

No details were given on the amount of energy that could be transferred to Cyprus but the project could be more difficult. This island in the Mediterranean Sea is located 956 km from the Egyptian coast….

Jean Marie Takouleu

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