As is the case with the African continent’s other two largest economies, South Africa and Nigeria, Egypt is searching for ways to deal with an energy shortage. One of these is a bid to reduce electricity consumption in the domestic, industrial and commercial sectors by 20% during this coming summer season in Egypt through an energy efficiency campaign. A campaign called Belamol which means moderate consumption in Arabic, has been launched to encourage citizens of the country to reduce their daily electricity consumption.
Egyptian minister of electricity Mohamed Hamed Shaker has asked that those who choose to use air conditioners should not set them below 25 degrees C. In an effort to meet the increasing electricity needs this summer, Shaker says that a total capacity of 2,400 MW will be added to the national grid. He also adds that an initiative will be launched calling on consumers to build small renewable energy plants on the roofs of their buildings.
Electricity consumption in households amounts to 42% of Egypt’s total electricity consumption and some 57% of locally-produced gas is used for electricity generation. To deal with the energy issue, the government says it plans to import additional quantities of natural gas, improve the efficiency of transferring fuel and diesel to stations and add more stations to the national grid.
Private equity firm in Egypt Citadel Capital has tendered a proposal to the government to build a power station with a capital cost of US$1.3 billion to help ease Egypt’s energy crisis.
An electricity exchange between Saudi Arabia and Egypt will come online in 2015. The US$1.6 billion deal to link the two countries’ electricity grids was signed in June 2013, forming part of a project that will allow the neighbours to share power and will lead to the construction of an underwater cable to facilitate the electricity exchange.
The project will offer benefits due to the difference in peak time loads between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, with the sharing of reserve power contributing towards a reduction in investment in electricity generators in both countries.
Saudi Arabian water and electricity minister, Abdullah Al-Hussayen, says, “Peak time in Saudi Arabia occurs in the noon and afternoon, while in Egypt it starts after sunset.”