Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi opened three new power stations built at a cost of six billion euros ($7 billion) as part of the Arab country’s development drive.
Acute power shortages in the years following Egypt’s 2011 uprising led to frequent summer blackouts and cuts to industrial output, but new projects initiated in 2015 are part of an eight billion euro deal to supply gas and wind power plants to boost electricity generation by 50%.
Attending the unveiling of the gas-powered station in the administrative capital, a new city being built as the future government seat east of Cairo, Sisi praised Egypt’s ability to meet the electricity needs of the country’s population of nearly 100 million.
“Today is a day of hope,” Sisi said. “We have come a long way in one of the most important elements of building and development in the state.”
The 4,800 MW plant was one of two built in a joint venture between Siemens and Egypt’s Orascom Construction, Orascom said, adding the second project at Burrulus in the Nile Delta, had generation capacity of 9,600 MW.
Sisi unveiled a third gas-powered power station in Beni Suef, south of Cairo. That plant also has capacity of 4,800 MW, sufficient to cover the needs of 15 million people, according to the state-run al-Ahram newspaper.
Sisi also opened one of the world’s largest wind farms, built at a cost of 12 billion Egyptian pounds ($673 million). State media said the Gebel el-Zeit station, located in Red Sea province, has capacity of 580 MW.
Egypt aims to meet 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022 and up to 40% by 2035. Renewable energy currently covers only about three percent of Egypt’s needs.