In early March, Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Egypt. Merkel and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi symbolically inaugurated the first phase of Siemens‘ megaproject there.
A Siemens spokesperson provided Power Engineering International with further insight on what is the company’s biggest ever order. Such is the belief of the company in what the project has accomplished it prompted the spokesperson to say, “We consider the massive capacity problems, after the finalization of the Megaproject, as solved.”
The company looks at the needs of an individual country or region before pitching the technology it believes to be the right fit. For Egypt this meant the use of the country’s significant gas and renewable resources.
Siemens H-Class gas turbines are being used in the project, and the company believes its technology is ideally suited to match Egypt´s needs.
“Highly-efficient and flexible gas-fired power plants are the optimal complement to intermittent renewables. Gas power plants are playing a vital role in the world’s ambition to reduce carbon emissions and at the same time provide reliable power,” Siemens’ spokesperson said.
“For Egypt, the massive increase in new capacity is crucial. The country’s population is growing rapidly, and the country is industrializing at a brisk pace to power this economic transformation and reinvigorate the country’s long-term development plans, Egypt urgently needed a reliable, efficient and sustainable energy system given that the role of energy in economic development is undeniable.”
In order to fulfil the objectives set out in Egyptian government policy, Siemens evaluated the country’s electricity landscape prior to developing a strategy.
“Our experts have been carefully analyzing the country’s energy system taking into account the country’s current power generation scenario, upcoming challenges, and were advising our customer on a certain electricity generation mix based on these findings,” the company’s spokesperson stated.
“Taking all aspects into account, the optimum energy mix for Egypt will rely on natural gas, the most important energy source, and on renewable sources of energy. For this reason, we suggested closing the power gap with highly efficient combined-cycle power plants distributed across the country. With our fast-track programme we help Egypt to add a huge amount of power capacity in a very short time.”
Renewable sources of energy should be judiciously represented in the energy mix – especially efficient wind power as well as (concentrated) solar-power plants. Egypt has targets to reach some 25 per cent renewables in energy mix by 2025 the two go hand in hand.
So what sort of impact will Siemens massive project have in resolving Egypt’s power generation problems. Is it enough?
“We consider the massive capacity problems after the finalization of the Megaproject as solved.”
“With these three power plants, Egypt’s total generation capacity will increase by almost 45 per cent. This will fulfill its power needs until at least 2022. It will have 14.4 GW operating on one of the highest combined cycle power plant efficiencies worldwide – more than 60 per cent – which we expect to save Egypt at least $1.3bn a year in natural gas costs (that’s comparing the H-class turbines to other combined cycle power plant gas turbines – compared to the existing fleet, the saving would be far greater.) Additionally, we are training 600 engineers for our customer, to operate and maintain the three power plants.”
“So, we are introducing new technologies and training new, highly skilled engineers and technicians. This will not only have an impact on Egypt. Other countries in the area where Siemens is active, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are all looking at this project.”
How feasible is it that Egypt will start to become an electricity exporter in the near future? Siemens believes the improvements made and the surplus in power in the offing makes that likely sooner than later.
“With the recent discovery of the Zohr gas field in the Mediterranean, Egypt’s gas resources received a huge boost. With the development of the field, the Egyptian government expects Egypt to stop imports and even become an exporter by 2020.”
Siemens sets new power generation benchmark in Egypt