The decision to build the largest power plant in Egypt, capable of producing more than 3,000MW, has been put on hold due to the political uncertainty in the country.

“Nothing is happening with the project at the moment,” says a source close to the project. “Due to the current political situation, it has been hard to make progress.”

The estimated $4bn facility is planned to be located near Samalout, in the Minya governorate. It is to be developed by Gulf Manufacturing and Energy Company, which was granted a build-operate-transfer (BOT) concession from a previous government to build the plant.

The gas-fired, combined-cycle facility is expected to produce 1,800MW in the first phase, reaching 3,100MW on completion of the second phase. If plans move ahead, the plant will be located at Al-Sarariyah village in the Sarariyah heavy industries zone, about 2 kilometres from the Nile River and 8km from Samalout.

Gulf Manufacturing and Energy Company appointed the local Integral Consult to undertake an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) for the proposed plant in 2012.

Egypt is racing to boost power generation capacity to meet soaring demand. Peak demand rose by 11.5 per cent in the summer of 2010, from 21,300MW in 2009 to 23,500MW. Installed capacity at the time was only 25,000MW and some areas of the country suffered blackouts as the system strained under the unprecedented demand.

As a result, the government is planning to significantly increase power generation capacity in the coming years. In February, firms were invited to express interest in providing technical consultancy services for the planned 1,500-2,500MW gas-fired power facility planned in Dairut, located in the Delta region of Egypt. The combined-cycle power scheme is set to be developed under a build-own-operate (BOO) procurement model, and forms part of Egypt’s independent power project (IPP) programme.