Egypt's energy sector faces 'unprecedented challenge'

18 February 2015

Government expects electricity demand to surge this decade

  • Energy demand in Egypt expected to hit 47,000MW by 2021-22
  • Country wants to diversify its energy mix
  • Overhauling the national grid is a priority

Egypt’s Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker has warned that the country’s energy sector faces an “unprecedented challenge” to meet burgeoning power demand.

Electricity demand is expected to jump from 30,000MW currently to 47,000MW by 2021-22, an increase of 64 per cent. Speaking at a conference in Cairo, Shaker said demand will continue to rise for many years, and is expected to hit 94,000MW by 2036.

The country is adopting several measures to increase production capacity in line with demand.

Energy projects are expected to feature heavily at the upcoming Egypt economic conference due to take place in March. The event is part of a wider plan for economic reform and Egyptian officials have said it is hoped the conference will raise as much as $15bn in new investment.

“The government will not be able to make the required investment in the energy sector alone. We need the private sector,” said Shaker.

He outlined three key areas of the government’s strategy to meet the surging demand for energy.

First, the government plans to diversify its energy sources by adding extra capacity in renewables, nuclear and coal over coming years.

The second key element of the country’s strategy is overhauling Egypt’s electricity grid. France’s EDF Energy is working with the Electricity Ministry on a study looking at how to improve performance and reduce the likelihood of the blackouts that plagued Cairo over the summer of 2014.

Work to upgrade the grid could be carried out using a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, according to Shaker.

The third prong of Egypt’s strategy is to increase energy efficiency. The country wants to install tens of millions of smart metres over the next decade.

It also plans to reduce the amount of electricity used by street lamps by 480MW through an initiative that replaces high-wattage bulbs with more efficient devices. One million of Egypt’s 4.8 million street lights will have energy-efficient bulbs installed over the summer, according to the electricity minister.

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