Egypt is an energy hub for international interconnections and corridors as well as for private sector energy investment, according to Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Mohamed Shaker.
“Before 2014, we were having massive electrical power cuts, and there was a low availability factor of power plants, as well as a shortage of fuel supply,” Shaker said, during a speech at the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham Egypt), Virtual Monthly Event, “Egypt’s Electrical Energy Transformation”.
He added, “There were also many transmission network constraints and large losses. In order for Egypt to upgrade, we put in place a strategic plan.”
He said that Egypt, under the leadership of the President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, has dealt with the electricity sector as a matter of national security. He noted that there was a need to get rid of the sector’s problems in a very short time period.
Egypt started with a fast track plan, in which Shaker referred to the large increase in efficiency and megawatts available that the country’s electricity sector has seen. This has occurred in cooperation with foreign and Egyptian partners, especially German technology company Siemens.
Shaker pointed to the 2018 deal that Egypt undertook with Siemens to produce 14,400 MW from the combined, high efficiency cycle at three big power stations. The cycle represented the highest efficiency in the market at that time.
The minister said that this deal had a great impact on Egypt’s transformation, from a country suffering from an electricity crisis to an energy-exporting country through electrical interconnection projects. This marked improvement has affirmed Egypt’s self-sufficiency in terms of access to electricity.
Shaker said that the rate of investment in Egypt’s electricity sector over the past three years amounted to about EGP 24.5bn, or an annual rate of EGP 8.2bn. This compares to about EGP 23.4bn during the previous 13 years, at a rate of EGP 1bn per year.
Shaker pointed to Egypt’s progress in diversifying energy sources by increasing its electricity production capacity from renewable sources, and is looking to reach a target of about 42% of renewable energy in its national grid by 2035.
He also made note of Egypt’s potential in the electricity production sector, including its excellent location, and its existing interconnections with neighbouring countries, namely Jordan, Sudan, and Libya.
“We are working as well on an interconnection with Saudi Arabia, having already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for an interconnection with Cyprus,” Shaker said, ”This is under a technical study for the time being, but we’re working on that with some companies from Cyprus.”
He revealed that the ministry has a plan to install about 47 control centres over five phases during the next 10 years, that will create a nationwide network.
“Hopefully, the first nuclear reactor in Egypt will be connected to the energy network by the end of 2026 or early 2027, and every year after that we’ll be adding a new nuclear reactor,” Shaker announced, “By the year 2025, I can say that we will have liberalised Egypt’s electricity market.”
President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham Egypt), Sherif Kamel, said, “Needless to say, the energy as an infrastructure is the backbone of the economy at large let it be, agriculture, industry, manufacturing, or services.”
He added, “It is a journey that started in 2015. And, on 2 July 2019, Minister Shaker was in the AmCham and he actually updated us on whatever that was happening at the time at the sector. He also shared with us his plans, moving forward. So today, I think it was a very good opportunity for all of us to learn more on what happened over the past year and a half, and the plans moving forward.”