CAIRO: Egypt will invite bids this week to build electricity generators with a total capacity of 1,000 MW, part of an effort to deal with power outages that have been plaguing the nation since the beginning of Ramadan, reported Reuters citing the energy ministry.
Summer temperatures of about 40°C, combined with higher demand near sunset during the month of Ramadan pushed up electricity consumption. Egypt may spend as much as LE 3.1 billion on the plan to add eight electricity generators powered by gas of 125 MW each, which officials aim to add to the grid before next summer, according to Beltone Financial’s daily market report.
Tarek Selim, professor at the American University in Cairo and an industrial economist, said that it is usual for the government to use gas powered stations as a short- to medium-term solution for increasing power capacity.
“The advantages of using natural gas in energy production are its abundance as a resource in Egypt, the ease and speed of its operation, and its minimal environmental impact,” he said.
Electricity Minister Hassan Younes said that the capacity to be added is in stations of Damietta and Shabab with a capacity of 500 MW each.
According to the ministry, this is part of a comprehensive plan to increase the overall capacity this year to 27,440 MW.
Younes said last week that the government plans on adding new projects and expanding the national network to increase the current per capita share of electricity which is currently at 1790 KW hours annually.
According to government figures, the energy available increased to reach about 55 billion KW/hour since 2005, three times the energy available in 1981, rising annually at an average rate of about 11 billion KW/hour in adding to the capacity traditionally provided by the High Dam.
In 2009/10, a total of 5,000 MW of capacity were added and the maximum capacity of electricity during 2009 year amounted to about 23,470 MW.
Younes added that there is also a medium term plan which started in 2007 and ends in 2012 adding capacity of up to about 9200 MW to strengthen the electricity grid to meet growing loads.
Long term nuclear plans are also on the table with the government recently accepting Al Dabaa as the location of Egypt’s first nuclear plant.
The electricity minister held meetings last week to discuss implementation of the Egyptian nuclear program with Hind Hanafy, president of Alexandria University and head of nuclear engineering department.
They focused on training human resources for the Egyptian nuclear program and raising the technical competence and skill of graduates of the department, stressing the need to prepare these students to join the teams of eventual nuclear plants.