We seek to modernise the national electricity grid: Kaeser

Asmaa Gamal
7 Min Read
Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens Photo by Asmaa Gamal

The German company Siemens is targeting to inaugurate a centre in Suez for the maintenance of power plants and equipment and for training workers at a value of €100m this year, said Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens, during his interview with Daily News Egypt. This is Kaeser’s first interview after attending the opening of the power plants in Beni Suef, Borollos, and the New Administrative Capital, in the presence of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Are there any negotiations with the government to set up a maintenance centre for the power plants?

There are serious negotiations with the government and the ministries of electricity, petroleum, and military production to establish a workshop for the maintenance of equipment, and the construction’s total expected investment is worth €100m.

Will the centre differ from the contract signed with the Ministry of Electricity for the maintenance of the plants for nine years?

Yes, Siemens signed a contract with the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) for the maintenance of Beni Suef’s, Borollos’, and the New Administrative Capital’s power plants for nine years to ensure the highest reliability and availability of the productivity and efficiency rates in the performance of the plants in the long run.

The centre to be inaugurated will maintain the electrical equipment located in all production plants nationwide.

What is your impression about the negotiations with Al-Sisi?

Al-Sisi is the best negotiator ever, and he is so intelligent. He managed to reduce the total cost of the projects to an unprecedented value, and he requested to reduce the time period of the implementation.

The establishment of the plants will take up to 30 months, but due to the intervention of the political leadership, the first phase was completed in 18 months only.

The implementation contract of the power plants signed by the company with the government is considered the greatest of all. We provided HCLASS turbines—the most efficient in the world—in the three projects, especially since the planned capacities to be added to the projects represent 45 % of the electrical capacities of Egypt.

Siemens has been present in Egypt since 1961 and is operating in all sectors. We will be committed to move to the second level to modernise the electricity grid so that it can accommodate all the produced capacities.

When will the three power plants be completed?

Siemens will complete the plants of Beni Suef, Borollos, and the New Administrative Capital in collaboration with local partners, Orascom and Elsewedy, in May 2018. We will then need six to nine months to set our priorities in the Egyptian market.

Have the negotiations with the government for the establishment of wind farms stopped?

The company has obtained the land necessary for the establishment of wind plants with a total capacity of 2000 MW. This was completed within the contract signed with the government during the economic conference held in Sharm El-Sheikh in March 2015. Negotiations with the government are still ongoing.

What is your evaluation of investment in Egypt?

The Egyptian market is attracting investments, and all legislations and procedures look encouraging. The most prominent challenge we are facing in establishing the three power plants is to stick to the date set for finishing up the first phase on time.

Energy efficiency is one of the ingredients of achieving major progress. Special interest must be paid to the infrastructure in order to encourage investment and strengthen the economy.

The EEHC has signed contracts with Siemens last year to implement three electricity plants using the combined cycle system with total capacities of 14,400 MW.

Siemens is launching the three projects using the EBC+Finance system. This includes implementing, designing, establishing, and financing them. EEHC is handling the repayment of the loan over several years.

Three banks in Germany (the KfW Development Bank, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC) are financing the three Siemens projects with €4.1bn out of a total of €6bn. Arab banks finance the project in Egyptian pounds to repay the dues of the Egyptian company working in the project, including El Sewedy and Orascom.

The three plants will save Egypt about $1.3bn annually as a result of reducing fuel consumption. Moreover, they will actively contribute to the provision of sustainable energy, which will have a positive impact on the Egyptian economy, an essential one in the region of the Middle East and Africa.

Will the company take part in training Egyptian youth?

Siemens will train 5,500 young people over the next four years in the new training centre located in Ain Sokhna. The centre will be a sustainable platform for vocational training in several specialised industrial fields with the goal of increasing the number of professional competencies in Egypt.

This strategic partnership stresses the joint commitment between Egypt and Siemens to support long-term development plans.

The initiative was designed in light of the “Egypt 2030 Vision” to achieve sustainable development through stimulating long-term economic growth and creating jobs, as well as supporting the competitiveness of Egyptian industries.

Vocational training and increasing labourer’s technical skills are both considered vital for enhancing growth and increasing jobs in different sectors.

What are the most prominent fields in which young people will be trained?

Young people will be trained to develop skills in the fields of operation and maintenance in the energy sector. Moreover, there is a large part of training programmes to serve a wide sector of industries, including mechanical and electrical engineering fields, in addition to mechatronics and other fields that are important for the Egyptian economy.

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