The politics surrounding power generation are getting complicated in Egypt. While the government does not want to admit there is not enough gas or oil to fuel all the power plants it needs to meet demand, its actions suggest it has admitted as much to itself.

Bids have been submitted for the consultancy contract to run its ambitious nuclear power programme, which will add 5,000MW to its network by 2027. Cairo is also encouraging renewable energy projects.

Now coal has also been firmly put on the agenda, adding to a growing trend, with Oman and Dubai already weighing up the possibility of using the fuel. For now, coal-powered plants are just a proposal and the government has yet to respond officially, but it is far from an outlandish idea.

Egypt claims to hold 70 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of proven and probable gas reserves, and its unproven reserves could amount to a further 120 tcf. But the vast majority of this will be consumed by the countryÕs extensive petrochemicals industry or exported.

Uncertainty over the availability of fuel supplies has left the power industry wondering how it can meet plans for a massive expansion of generating capacity.

The first nuclear plant will not be operational before 2017. With plans for 3,000MW of new capacity every year until 2027, Cairo is having to reassess its options.

This is the first time Egypt has looked to coal as a possible fuel for its power plants. The subject is controversial, not least because of environmental concerns.

If a plant were to be built on the Red Sea coast, which the current proposal suggests, the impact on the local ecosystem as well as on tourism would need to be carefully con-sidered. But for now, Cairo needs to pursue all options.

Uncertainty over the availability of fuel supplies has left the power industry wondering how it can increase generating capacity

The politics surrounding power generation are getting complicated in Egypt. While the government does not want to admit there is not enough gas or oil to fuel all the power plants it needs to meet demand, its actions suggest it has admitted as much to itself.

Bids have been submitted for the consultancy contract to run its ambitious nuclear power programme, which will add 5,000MW to its network by 2027. Cairo is also encouraging renewable energy projects.ow coal has also been firmly put on the agenda, adding to a growing trend, with Oman and Dubai already weighing up the possibility of using the fuel. For now, coal-powered plants are just a proposal and the government has yet to respond officially, but it is far from an outlandish idea.

Egypt claims to hold 70 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of proven and probable gas reserves, and its unproven reserves could amount to a further 120 tcf. But the vast majority of this will be consumed by the country’s extensive petrochemicals industry or exported.

Uncertainty over the availability of fuel supplies has left the power industry wondering how it can meet plans for a massive expansion of generating capacity.

The first nuclear plant will not be operational before 2017. With plans for 3,000MW of new capacity every year until 2027, Cairo is having to reassess its options.

This is the first time Egypt has looked to coal as a possible fuel for its power plants. The subject is controversial, not least because of environmental concerns.

If a plant were to be built on the Red Sea coast, which the current proposal suggests, the impact on the local ecosystem as well as on tourism would need to be carefully con-sidered. But for now, Cairo needs to pursue all options.