Egypt understands that it is at a geographical and geopolitical crossroads. But it must now seize this opportunity to become an electric energy hub. If so, it can become the main electricity gateway to Europe, Africa and Asia. If Egypt seizes this chance, it could certainly find a model to develop its economy and make its people prosperous.
This is why Egypt holds many important geopolitical keys that will enable it to become the energy gateway to the three ancient continents. European countries, African countries and Arab states consider Egypt vital to ensure the supply of electricity to the three continents.
Meanwhile, Egypt is very interested in electrical interconnection and serves as a hub for energy exchanges between Arab countries and also the Horn of Africa. In addition to this, the Egyptian government is currently working to take positive steps towards interconnecting with Europe via Cyprus and Greece.
Another step towards becoming an energy hub is a 3 GW power interconnector, which is a cooperative project between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, in addition to the first 1.5 GW of the $1.6 billion project, which will should be operational in 2023.
Moreover, Egypt already has interconnections with Libya and Jordan, the combined capacity of which amounts to around 800 MW. Libya has a deficit of 2,500 MW during peak demand. The percentage of Libyans with access to electricity dropped to 67% from the pre-civil war level of 81%; increasing Egyptian electricity exports to Libya could help narrow the gap and strengthen Cairo’s economic cooperation with its western neighbour.
In line with the government’s energy program, Egypt is set to contribute to the electrification of sub-Saharan Africa where access to electricity is on average less than 50%.
In 2019, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi declared that Egypt was ready to export around 20% of its electricity surplus to African countries.
In this context, Sudan, neighboring Egypt to the south, has an electricity access rate of 60%. The Egypt and Sudan grid connection became operational in April 2020 and will reach 300 MW when completed. Through Libya and Sudan, Egypt could theoretically export electricity to neighboring countries such as Chad, whose electricity access rate in 2018 was only 12%.
What makes Egypt’s prospects even more exciting are the latest projects in the field of overhead lines and transformer stations that have been implemented at high and high voltage at the Republic level.
In recent years, Egypt has built 31 decentralized power plants, mostly solar power units and gas turbines that are not connected to the national grid, according to a new report released by the Egyptian government.
New high voltage substations have been added, including 7 500 kV substations. This increased the total capacity by 17.7% and the projects of the three giant generation plants (Bani Suef, Burullus, the New Administrative Capital) were connected at 220 and 500 kV, the report said.
The report also revealed that the lengths of high voltage lines and cables have increased from 29,469 km to 31.84 km and the capacities of high voltage transformer stations have increased from 95,315 MVA to 112,208 MVA with a increase of 17.7%.
In conclusion, Egypt’s current strategy to develop its energy exports has already begun to reshape geopolitics from the Eastern Mediterranean to Africa and Asia.