Egypt is keen to share its experiences in the implementation of energy projects with other COMESA Member States to address the energy deficit in the region. Subsequently, the country is working with the COMESA Secretariat towards this initiative.
Early this month, 4 to 8 August 2019, Egypt and COMESA Secretariat organized a one-week training in Cairo that was attended by delegates from 12 other COMESA Countries. These were: Djibouti, DR Congo, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
The training focused on Policy, Financing and Implementation of Energy Projects. Among the topics covered were: renewable energy strategies; investment environment in renewable energy; financing methods and lending agreements and procurement; renewable energy independent power producers among others.
Dr. Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy of Egypt told the COMESA Secretariat team, led by the Director of Infrastructure Mr Jean Baptiste Mutabazi, that Egypt now has excess generation capacity following massive investments since 2014.
“Egypt had been experiencing frequent power cuts due to lack of supply of natural gas in 2014. Therefore, we had to connect 3600MW to the grid in a record time of 8 ½ Months. By June 2015, Egypt did not have any more power cuts attributed to lack of generation capacity,” the Minister said.
He added that his government also signed a deal with Siemens to provide 4800MW combined cycle power plants which were also delivered in record two and half years instead of the normal 5-6-year period.
“As a result of these investments, Egypt now has excess generation capacity,” he said adding that with an electricity generation capacity of over 55,000MW, Egypt has the largest installed electricity generation capacity in the COMESA region.
With regards to Renewable Energy, the Minister informed the team that his country had 6.6GW installed capacity by mid-2019 and planned to reach 20% of generation capacity by 2022. Egypt has also signed a deal with Russia for the construction of a 4800MW nuclear power plant. The first reactor is expected to be operational by 2026.
“Egypt is working on upgrading the transmission network to 500KV and working on a number of inter-connectors with a view to be hub of power trading and conduit to Europe,” he said. “Egypt is ready to prepare training on specific subjects to deepen African cooperation.”
Thanking the government of Egypt for providing the training support, Mr Mutabazi observed that COMESA region had a huge energy deficit and therefore there was a need for Member States to address this matter.
He said: “Generation and distribution of energy could be extended to the private sector, while transmission be left to governments. The missing link, was in installing inter-connectors.”
The training also included the sharing of experiences from the Member States present as well as field visits to the Kuraymat Solar Thermal Power Plant, and the Mokatam Training Centre.
Participants recommended that, for the trainings to be effective, there is need to have a critical mass of COMESA Energy experts to help in wider dissemination the knowledge to the region.