By Abdel Qader Ramadan
The platform of the former defence minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, released Tuesday on his official website, includes a set of mechanisms intended to solve the energy crisis plaguing Egypt. Most notably the platform seeks to diversify sources of energy rather than rely on natural gas and petroleum products.
Replacing household light bulbs with energy-saving ones was the plan put forward by Field Marshal to resolve the energy crisis in Egypt, sparking a wave of criticism on social networking sites.
The platform looks to reach a ratio closer to international proportions for the use of different forms of electricity production, including natural gas, diesel, nuclear power, water power, and renewable energies (wind and solar). Egypt should also use available petroleum and employ it to operate power plants, while expanding the use of bio-fuels produced by the recycling of organic waste, the platform stipulates.
“The immediate and serious start of the nuclear platform is an inevitable reality given the depletion of natural gas and petroleum products,” according to the electoral platform.
The platform refers to the launch of renewed energy projects to generate 10,000 megawatts (in Owaynat, Aswan and Fayoum), which will open up prospects for investment in electricity generation and transmission networks.
It includes both domestic and foreign private sector incentives in the field of electricity generation, as well as energy transport and distribution, and new legislation to help implement the plans. Al-Sisi’s platform also referred to the possibility of resorting to the importation of primary energy such as natural gas, which requires the preparation of the necessary infrastructure and ports.
The platform discussed “immediate restructuring of energy pricing while not neglecting social factors.” It also promises to deliver natural gas to new areas and the expansion of licensing.
The platform called for the launching of an initiative to use solar energy and wind energy in which ordinary citizens could generate small amounts of solar and wind energy in their homes for consumption, and the energy produced will also be connected to the larger national network, with incentives developed to encourage this.
Al-Sisi’s electoral plan called for citizens to take advantage of their rooftops for the generation of solar energy connected to the national electric grid, in order to achieve economic return and additional energy. Financial institutions will be encouraged to give soft loans to help finance the purchasing of units for solar generation.
In terms of short-term solutions put forward, the platform calls for the popularising of lighting systems that use solar power and energy-saving lamps on streets across the governorates and on major highways, with a view towards achieving self-sufficiency from renewable energy in remote areas such as New Valley, Siwa and Matruh.
The platform pointed out that Al-Sisi would work on electrical linkage projects with neighbouring countries to provide energy during times of peak usage, which vary from country to country. He will also work to quickly complete the maintenance of power stations in the next few months.
Al-Sisi’s electoral agenda also seeks to end the need for power cuts by using electricity smart meters to control electric distribution.