Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker said that the most prominent challenges for the electricity sector is developing and expanding the transmission and distribution electricity grids to accommodate the most recently added capacities, as the total investments needed for transmission projects amount to EGP 18bn, while distribution projects require EGP 37bn.
He added that the ministry is coordinating with the Ministry of Finance and a number of banks to borrow funding for the projects and implement the first phase of the expansion plan this year.
He explained that several transmission and distribution projects are underway, including the implementation of 1,210 km of electricity lines and cables in cooperation with the Chinese State Grid Corporation, while Elsewedy Electric and NCC are implementing an electricity transmission line from Samalout to Naga Hammadi at a cost amounting to EGP 4.187bn.
He pointed out that a 500 kV line is being implemented to link between South Helwan power project—currently under construction—and Samalout transformers stations. The project is expected to be completed by the end of March.
In addition, the minister said that another 500 kV line is set to link between Beni Suef power plant and Naga Hammadi with a length of 426 KM, which is expected to be completed before the summer. This line will be parallel to the current one, which was extended during the construction of the High Dam.
Furthermore, four transformer stations will be built in Benban, Aswan within two months to carry the output of solar projects, according to Shaker. He said that the ministry also plans to contract on the establishment of four 500 kV transformers in the New Administrative Capital, Kafr El-Sheikh, Qena, and Zagazig in 2017.
He said that the Electricity Ministry does not need any more capacities other than the capacities Siemens will add to the national network from its projects in El-Borollos, Beni Suef, and the New Administrative Capital, as the first phase of the plants’ commercial operations is due to begin within two months. Once operative, they will add 4,400 MW to the grid. The later phases will soon follow according to a timetable that ends in May 2018.
The Ministry of Electricity will now continue constructions of the new plants, including the South Helwan plant, which would produce 1,950 MW. Roughly 75% of the project has been completed. Trial periods are set to begin by the end of the year, according to Shaker.
He pointed out that electricity surplus will be channeled to feed the development projects that are currently being implemented, in addition to increasing the capacities of the interconnection lines with Arab countries to reach 2,000 MW, including projects with Jordan, Libya, and Sudan, as well as the interconnection line between Egypt and Saudi Arabia to exchange 3,000 MW.
He added that the ministry aims to best manage resources and maximise benefit to improve efficiency indicators, reduce loss, and satisfy clients. He noted that the five-year plan of 2022-2027 has been postponed and will be implemented if demand on energy grows by 8%.
He stressed that new and renewable energy projects are not delayed. “All projects are ongoing according to tight controls and regulations,” he said. “We signed the power purchase agreement with nine companies in the first phase of the feed-in tariff project.” He noted that the ministry receives dozens of offers from investors offering to invest in the new and renewable energy sector.
Shaker said that the government raised the percentage by which renewable energy will contribute to Egypt’s total electricity output to over 37% until 2035, adding that the plan was put in cooperation with the European Union.
He noted that negotiations with Russia with regards to the Dabaa nuclear power plant are still ongoing, adding that the main contract for design and construction has been finalised. He said that the negotiations are expected to be completed within months.