16 July 2019 04:40 AM

Sisi witnesses inauguration of national power projects

Tuesday، 24 July 2018 - 02:03 PM

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi witnessed on Tuesday 24/7/2018 the inauguration of a number of mega electricity projects.

Three huge power plants implemented by Siemens in the New Administrative Capital, Beni Sweif and Borolos are among those projects.

Attending the inauguration ceremony are Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker and Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki.

Chairman of the Administrative Control Authority (ACA) Mohamed Erfan said that Egypt - as it completes a big part of its ambitious plan to build a strong energy infrastructure - is working to achieve sustainable development and reach comprehensive solutions to one of its most important and long inherited problems; electricity that is.

About 25,000 megawatts of electricity have been added to the unified national grid in the period between July 2014 and June 2018, Erfan told the ceremony.

This, he added, has helped achieve a surplus in power capacities by 25 percent, which will contribute to securing future needs of electricity, let alone exports.

Egypt is keen on providing best standards and prices amid an atmosphere of transparency, which sure helped achieve an unprecedented value-added to the electricity sector, the ACA chairman noted.

Erfan touched upon a strategic plan that has in its heart an expansion in the use of new and renewable energy to reach 20 percent of the total capacities by 2022. Part of the plan is also meant to upgrade capacities of the combined-cycle power stations from 36.5 percent to 55.8 percent, he added.

Nuclear energy and coal have been introduced as alternative sources of thermal energy, Erfan further said.

He also talked about government efforts to upgrade transport networks to discharge additional electrical energy.

Egypt has also been working to develop its electricity distribution networks to cope with increased loads and to improve services offered to citizens, the ACA chairman said, noting that this is estimated to cost some 22.5 billion pounds until 2019.

He said that coordination is underway with the World Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to implement a project to improve governance and restructuring.

This, he noted, has pushed up Egypt's position on the "Getting Electricity" index of the WB's Doing Business report from 145 to 89.

Already 14 mega projects have been completed at a total cost of 155 billion pounds, Erfan told the gathering.

He cited six power generation projects planned to produce a total of 15,370 megawatts, which represent 28 percent of the total capacities on the network.

The combined-cycle system is applied to three of the six projects, Erfan said, adding that the most advanced technology is being used to run turbines and limit harmful emissions, while reducing the annual fuel consumption by about one billion dollars.

Those are located in the New Administrative Capital, Beni Sweif and Borolos, the ACA chairman said.

A wind power plant will be inaugurated today in Gabal el Zeit district of the Red Sea governorate, Erfan further said.

He added that the station already started operation and is expected to produce about 815 megawatts annually.

In his word at the inauguration of several national projects in the power sector, Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker expounded the projects that have been implemented by the Electricity Ministry since June 2014.

He said that before 2014 the challenges facing the power generation sector in Egypt were a deficiency in generation capacities; depending on only one energy source - 90% of energy plants were powered by natural gas and fuel derivatives; incomplete and inadequate maintenance work and sabotage attacks targeting electricity facilities and transmission and distribution networks.

At that time, there were no other primary energy sources, like solar energy, nuclear energy or fossil energy from coal, he noted.

As for the Egyptian power boost program, Shaker said that Egypt carried out a large-scale maintenance operation before the summer of 2014, noting that it only covered 73% of targeted the maintenance work.

The maintenance of equipment aimed at increasing energy capacity to reach 26.644 megawatts, however, the installed power generating capacity was just 19.273 megawatts.

In an effort to overcome the repercussions of terrorist attacks on power transmission and distribution networks, the Electricity Ministry set up an urgent plan to add 3.636 megawatts of electricity to the national power grid, with investments worth 2.7 billion dollars in 8 months, Shaker said.

There are still power plants under construction, he said, adding that his ministry has so far finalized the construction of power stations with a total capacity of 4.250 megawatts and investments amounting to 4 billion dollars.

The Electricity Ministry worked together with the defense, petroleum and finance ministries and the Central Bank of Egypt to accelerate the pace of implementing the power projects, Shaker said.

In nearly 8 months, four power stations were built in Sharm el Sheikh, Port Said, Ataqa and El Mahmoudia cities, Shaker added.

For the first time, 20 mobile power plants were built in different areas in Upper Egypt, Shaker said.

In 2015, the Electricity Ministry managed to add 6,886 megawatts of electricity to the national power grid, although the estimated capacity that was usually added to the national grid used to range from just 1,500 to 2,000 megawatts, the minister said.

As for investments in the energy sector, Shaker said that his ministry is implementing projects worth 515 billion pounds.

The cost of energy production projects amounted to 433.5 billion pounds, he underlined. While, the cost of power transmission projects to strengthen the electricity grid reached 54.4 billion pounds.

There are investments worth two billion dollars in the private sector projects in the field of renewable energy, he said.

The electricity minister said the State is seeking to upgrade the power plants across the country with the view to reducing fuel used to run power stations, a matter that will decrease the electricity production cost.

Shaker further noted that any decrease in the dollar exchange rate or natural gas price will in turn affect the electricity tariff.

The State is working on the "add-on", which involves the conversion from the existing simple-cycle power plants to the combined-cycle power plants, the minister said.

Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said grand projects will enter service in the period from 2022-2027.

Under the five-year plan, the Dabaa nuclear plant will have the first reactor by 2026, he said, noting that the ministry plans to boost production capacity of new and renewable energy.

He also said Egypt has capabilities that qualify it to produce 90,000 megawatts of renewable energy, noting that this is one of the main goals of the electricity sector.

He added that the ministry is taking great strides with regard to accomplishing the nuclear power plant which was given the go ahead in December in the presence of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

As for using clean coal in generating electricity, he said China will set up a 6,000-megawatt clean coal power plant in the Red Sea port of Hamrawein.

The 4.4 billion pound plant will be established in six years, he added.

The electricity minister said Egypt seeks to up the total combined capacity of the national grid by 20 percent by 2022.

He expounded that the combined capacity of solar energy is estimated at about 130 megawatts, referring to Kuraimat concentrating solar power stations as one of the contributors.

He noted that Benban power plant will be the largest solar station in the world and will create about 10,000 jobs.

The 37 square kilometer plant will be finalized by mid 2019, he said.

Shaker noted that the first and second wind farms in Gabal el Zeit, Red Sea governorate, are deemed the largest in the Middle East, adding that the third Gabal el Zeit farm will be finalized before the end of 2018.

As for hydropower, Shaker said the total national hydropower capacity stood at about 2832 megawatts with the High Dam alone producing 2100 megawatts.

He said the ministry is cooperating with Siemens in generating electricity from the Nile water.

He noted that the ministry has for the first time in history cooperated with the German company in examining the electricity network and laying down plans until 2025.

He added that the ministry is working on boosting the electricity transmission networks from 220,000 volts to 500,000 volts in addition to linking power stations.

He noted that a large part of the electricity transmission networks will be finalized by 2019 in line with directives of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Minister Shaker said Egypt is cooperating with Chinese companies to overcome high voltage problems, noting that a first memo of understanding was signed with the State Grid Corporation of China during president Sisi's visit to China in 2014.

The Chinese company will implement the contract signed with it by the end of 2018.

Shaker said Egypt had 18 transformer stations at 500 kilovolts until 2014, adding that 11 new transformer stations will be finalized by the first quarter of 2019.

He added that nine stations will be put out to tender.

He said a national control center will be established in the New Administrative Capital soon.

He also said Egypt is a center for power exchange, referring to potential power linkage projects with Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

He added that a deal on a power linkage project with Greece will be signed in November, noting that the feasibility study was finalized.

After the speech delivered by the Electricity Minister a documentary film was screened covering the already finalized projects as well as ongoing and future ones.

Shaker said in the documentary that electricity is a national security issue for Egypt.

The film noted that the State channeled EGP 515 billion into the electricity sector.

It also noted that the 363.5 megawatt emergency plan was carried out in eight months.

It added that cooperation with international companies, especially Siemens, served national political and security stability.

The film spotlighted the mammoth electricity production projects in Beni Suef, Borolos and the New Administrative Capital.

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