A total capacity of 1,300 MW from Ain Sokhna power station will be added to the national electricity grid in August and October, Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker said in a Sunday statement.
The station is comprised of two thermal units, with a capacity of 650 MW each. The first unit will be connected to the national grid in August and the other in October.
Former head of the state-owned Energy Research Centre Mohamed El-Sobky commented that the capacity will “slightly” help reducing the electricity blackouts Egypt is currently witnessing.
El-Sobky, however, added that the problem which has led the electricity ministry to reduce loads by cutting off power is mainly an energy deficit, “so if natural gas supplies to power stations do not increase, power outages will continue,” he said.
The Ain Sokhna power station, which operates with natural gas and diesel, is part of the government’s 2012-2017 five-year plan to meet all electricity needs of different sectors. The ministry added that the operational time of the plan has been delayed several times due to the instable security situation of the country.
Shaker pointed out that the total investment cost of the project in EGP 9.6bn. Participating organisations in the fund are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) which contributed $600m, African Development Bank ($450m), the Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development ($194.6m) and $106m from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.
Natural gas shortages at electricity plants have prompted the government to reduce the load on the national grid by cutting off power. The deficit is estimated at approximately 2,500 MW.
To address the issue, the government said in April that it would import additional quantities of natural gas, improve the efficiency of transferring fuel and diesel to stations, and add more stations to the national grid.
Egypt needs EGP 170m per day, and EGP 58bn per year to produce electricity, head of the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency Hafez Salmawy said in May. However, in the summer, it needs an additional EGP 60m per day, he added.