By Abdul Rahman Bangura–
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone- In an effort to fulfill its soaring, energy demand; In this regard its targets if fulfilled, shall see Egypt become a harbinger in the African energy topography.
Since its people have presently left 100 million and are one of the extensively populous and fastest-growing nations on the African continent, Egypt is delivering electricity to all its citizens a preference, to assure continual security and stability of energy supply. Egypt has undertaken an energy diversification strategy, known as 2035 Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy (ISES), which strives to step up the improvement of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the country.
Nonetheless, Egypt endeavors to produce 20% of its electricity utilizing renewable sources by 2022 and 42% by 2035. For the second target, the objective is for the wind to provide 14%, hydropower 2%, and solar 25%. This is a considerable enterprising energy plan, but it is one that is essential for Egypt to flourish. Specifically, Egypt expects to modify its combination of power sources. Egypt has introduced nuclear power and it is also developing a few megaprojects that will give rise to a massive proportion of gas into its energy mix.
This is in disparity to 2014, when scheduled to electricity shortages, Egypt was forced to introduce more coal into its energy mix in order to lessen its reliance on imported gas. Soaring demands, the falling costs of renewable energy, and the discovery of new natural gas sources have enabled Egypt to both diversify its energy mix and become an exporter of gas.
Similarly, environmental concerns over the generation and use of coal have reinforced this ecological approach. Egypt has signed up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), meaning that it has no alternative but to curtail its reliance on fossil fuels.
Dabbing into renewable energy will benefit Egypt in ways more than one. It will strengthen the country’s financial growth and bring dividends in foreign currency. The increased mode of renewable energy is anticipated to supervise exporting fossil fuels or using them in other areas domestically, such as industrial production.
The transition to renewable energy sources is also predicted to boost local businesses in Egypt, the cost of electricity is an important factor for business owners. While solar power and sustainable electricity are not widely available in the country yet, there is merit in Egypt’s plan to tap into renewable energy sources in the long run. More factories will lean towards sustainable renewable energy sources if it is economical, due to the cost of production and increasing price of electricity.
But to leverage the benefits of the transition to renewable energy, Egypt needs to overcome a few infrastructural and geographic hurdles.
A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) provides a comprehensive assessment and recommendations for primary measures that Egypt must consider to achieve the goals set out in ISES. The report points out the need to update Egypt’s electric power sector strategies to reflect the growing cost advantages and other benefits of renewable energy. It also focuses on reforming the existing market framework to improve the economic feasibility of projects.
Additionally, the country is very much split in two by the fabled river Nile, with many regions in the south still not connected to the national grid. Egypt is very keen to invest in the tourism sector along the Red Sea, meaning there is a need for not only infrastructure but also the power to supply to these regions.
Egypt’s situation has changed a lot since 2011. Nowadays, the issue is distribution rather than consumption. Egypt has a tradition of setting its energy distribution vertically. This has a rather negative impact on how the energy is consumed, but this can change since we are starting to see more industries coming into the country as Egypt is encouraging private sector participation.
Between 2022 and 2027, Egypt plans to install an additional thermal power plant and two clean coal technology power plants. These initiatives are expected to exceed the nation’s peak power and electricity demands.
Of the renewable energy targets for 2022, both solar and wind are considered achievable. In particular, the Benban Solar Complex project, which is considered one of the largest solar PV power plant projects in the world, and has a total installed capacity of 1.8 GW, is foreseen to come online alongside a number of utility-scale wind farm projects in the Gulf of Suez.
Egypt certainly has a lot of unanswered questions at present, but it does seem to be on the right track. Three big parts – gas, sea turbines, and renewables – need to play their part going forward. Egypt has no choice; it must invest in renewables. The sector at the moment only makes up around 2% of the energy mix, but these announcements could rise it to 20% – this is almost a revolution.
For New Africa Business News (NABN) Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent
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