Egypt’s government is searching for means to reduce a widening electricity deficit as well as planning to reinforce its transmission network. The Agence Francaise de Développement (AFD) has agreed in principle to finance a US$72 million power grid project in the Nile Delta.

In addition, Egypt’s minister of electricity Ahmed Imam says that the ministry has allocated US$320 million for investment in a number of high voltage substations and power line corridors to be implemented during the current five-year plan (2012 − 2017). This includes the establishment of 11 high voltage substations to be operational between 2014 − 2017 as well as the replacement and renovation of conductors on 220 kV lines and other projects.

Iman also says his ministry will go ahead with its plans to build the country’s first nuclear power station for the generation of electricity. The ministry has not yet decided whether to proceed via an international bidding process or directly assign a specific company to carry out this project. The Egyptian army has retained the land of Al Dabaa for the nuclear project from tribal leaders who had previously objected to implementation the project in their region.

Further, Egypt’s ministry of electricity is set to receive bids for a tender by the country’s New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) to build a 200 MW photovoltaic (PV) plant in the southern Egyptian province of Aswan. Both local and international investors were invited to lodge bids for the rights to build, own and operate the plant, which will be Egypt’s first solar PV installation.

The NREA’s chairman, Sha’ban Khalaf, says that the installation will comprise ten individual PV plants, each boasting a 20 MW capacity, remarking that companies able to demonstrate previous success in constructing and operating solar PV farms would be given preference in the tender.

The project forms part of Egypt’s five-year solar energy plan, which was implemented in 2012 and is hoped will bring 3,500 MW of solar power to the grid by 2017. Of that, 700 MW will be delivered by PV farms, while the remaining 2,800 MW expected to come from concentrated solar power.