Egypt: Initiated Consultations to Vend Electricity to Europe and Africa by way of Suiting a Regional Export Center Huddling Windfall as a Producer of Inexpensive Renewable Energy
By Abdul Rahman Bangura–
NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS (NADN) Freetown, Sierra Leone- Egypt has started up discussions over proposals to vend electricity to Europe and Africa, mashing its motive as a producer of reasonable renewable energy in a proposition to evolve a regional export headquarters, the head of its sovereign wealth fund asserted.
Egypt, which has a plethora of electricity, sees unspecified “power-hungry” countries to the north as possible customers, according to Chief Executive Officer Ayman Soliman. Egypt could supply Europe via a planned sub-sea cable to Cyprus and Greece.
“We are in talks with European infrastructure investors, advisers and energy traders to assess the viability and appetite,” Soliman declared in an interview in Cairo. The transmission line “will position Egypt as a long-term renewable supply hub for Europe.”
Eventually, electricity exports could be a lucrative earner for Egypt, which is already fitting a natural-gas crossroad after offshore findings. The North African nation, which has capacity of about 50 gigawatts — a fifth of that excess has long used gas-fired plants and hydropower and is increasing use of other sources. Around 8.6% of the country’s power comes from renewables, and it’s targeting 20% by 2022 and more than doubling that by 2035.
Egypt’s capacity has been strengthened in contemporary years by three power plants co-built by Siemens AG, a $4 billion solar park in the south, Benban — one of the world’s biggest — and a wind farm. The country signed a $30 billion deal with Russia in 2017 to build North Africa’s first nuclear power plant, with capacity of 4.8 gigawatts. The excess reflects a U-turn from 2013, when Egypt strived to fulfill need for electricity from its rapidly growing population, the largest in the Arab world. Chronic outages helped stoke anger against Islamist President Mohamed Mursi’s administration, topping off in his eviction during a military-backed celebrated insurrection.
On this note, the fund has a consensus with the Electricity Ministry to commit investors for its export plans. Already engross to Libya and Jordan, Egypt is also pursuing to supply developing economies on its side of the Mediterranean, according to Soliman.
“We are identifying the relevant players in Africa to partner or work with and we are in talks with some sovereign funds,” the CEO meant. He dwindled to prescribe nations or institutions, saying only they spanned the continent.
Egypt endorsed a preliminary pact on the Euro Africa Interconnector with Cyprus and Greece last year. The fund is in contact with energy traders “to find counterparts who can invest alongside the fund and develop the transmission line,” and is also holding initial talks with some local and international infrastructure investors, Soliman clarified. The first stage of the Egypt-Cyprus-Greece line is estimated to cost 2.5 billion euros ($3 billion) and scheduled for commissioning by December 2023, with initial transmission capacity of 1,000 megawatts, according to Euro Africa’s website.
Egypt will benefit from the low cost of power production, especially for solar, according to Soliman. An efficient selling price for power from Benban is 2.4 cents per kilowatthour, approximated to the regular price paid per European household of 23 U.S. cents per KWh, he said. Hip the industrial sector, he cited a profitable selling price for Egypt of about 9 cents per KWh versus as much as 15.4 cents in nations like Germany and Italy. “We are keen to tap industrial economies that are power-hungry and environmentally conscious,” Soliman expressed.
For New Africa Daily News Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent