In 2009, Egypt had 23,500MW of capacity, which was a 4 per cent increase on the previous year. This was more than sufficient as peak demand was 21,330MW, leaving a buffer of 2,000MW between installed capacity and demand.

However, latest figures compiled by the Electricity & Energy Ministry suggest demand will grow at a rate of 6 per cent annually between 2012-17.

To meet this demand, Egypt will need to move ahead swiftly with current power plant plans including the Dairut independent power project (IPP) in the Asyut governorate.

The government’s request for qualification has received a total of 19 responses. A request for proposals to build the project is expected to be issued in June, with a deadline for bids in September to be followed by an award by November.

By accelerating the tendering process, the government hopes to bring the facility online soon to meet the anticipated demand hike in the short-term.

In addition to the Dairut project, around 11,100MW in power projects are planned as part of the country’s seventh five-year plan leading up to 2017.

This is to include 5,250MW of combined cycle gas-fired capacity and 5,850MW in steam generation capacity. The bold plan will require significant financing commitments totalling around $120 billion.

Egypt’s electricity ministry met with representatives of several Middle East funds in March to discuss financing options. It will be the ministry’s ability to secure funding in a tight credit market that will determine whether Egypt continues to meet its power demands.