By Salah El-Monoufi
The Ministry of Electricity is considering plans aimed at decreasing the country’s power stations’ reliance on natural gas and mazut in order to address a constant energy shortage.
Sources within the ministry said: “The project includes plans to wean Egypt’s electrical stations off mazut and natural gas, and revive the country’s nuclear energy programme. This will help address the energy shortage in Egypt’s power grid by establishing four new nuclear power plants, which are expected to provide energy to Egyptian electrical stations producing between 900 and 1,000 megawatts of electricity each.
The cabinet has made plans to discuss measures to hold a bid round for the rights to construct nuclear power plants in the Al-Dabaa region, on the condition that the contracted company is responsible for organising and providing 80 per cent of all necessary construction funding. Meanwhile, Egypt’s electric holding company began conducting a series of studies analysing the economic and logistical feasibility of constructing coal fired power plants throughout the country.
A recent study selected the city of Safaga as the site for future construction of the region’s first coal-fired power plant, which will include three steam units that could provide an estimated 650 megawatts.
Sources within the holding company stated: “Investments for these plants are expected to reach $2 bn, and will be provided to the sector itself for the establishment of the plant’s administrative infrastructure, in exchange for promises from the government to purchase the entirety of the plants’ electricity output.”
These sources stated that the company that wins the contract will be responsible for importing the required amount of coal necessary to operate the plan, pointing to the Ministry of Electricity’s five year plan that seeks to employ the private sector to help increase the amount of energy available on Egypt’s national grid by 5,500 megawatts.
The ministry had already received proposals from the Chinese Shanghai Corporation and a number of Egyptian investors to establish a coal-fired electrical plant after President Morsy’s visit to China last summer.