A 7 gigawatt coal power station is to be built near the Egyptian town of Hamrawein and is due to be completed by 2024. This will be the world’s first biggest clean-coal power plant using new ultra-supercritical technology in order to cut emissions and improve efficiency.
The project will cost US$4.4 billion and will be funded by both Chinese and Egyptian banks. It will be located 600 kilometres south-east of the capital, Cairo.
Egypt has enjoyed 100% access to electricity for many years, but the country has experienced significant blackouts in the past decade due to an increase in demand by consumers and businesses.
Consumption has increased from 60.5 terawatt hours in 2000 to 164.2 terawatt hours in 2017. Likewise, the energy output of the country has increased from 15GW in 2000 to 42GW in 2017.
Of the current 42GW capacity, 91% is produced using fossil-fuels and the remaining amount comes from renewable technology. Of the renewable technology over 77% is hydropower, a source which the Egyptian government can no longer expand due to a lack of capacity at hydro sites.
This new coal power plant will be the first in the country, as Egypt currently relies on gas power plants to produce most of its energy output.
The Egyptian government has predicted that an additional 54GW of power will need to be added to the national grid by 2022 in order to keep up with demand.
This coal plant along with plans to develop nuclear power and renewable technology in the country will help to achieve their ambitious goal of almost doubling their energy output.
Egyptians are as entitled to cheap, reliable and consistent electricity just as much as everyone else across the world. With over 100 million people in Egypt alone, the government need to ensure that supply keeps up with demand or blackouts will reappear.
Professor Rosemary Falcon of Wits University in South Africa commented on the new ultra supercritical coal project. She said, “A country like Egypt, with nearly 100 million people, needs a lot of base-load power that doesn’t go off.”
The professor also commented on how new coal technology is less of a problem with pollution to day, than it was in the past.
“Those days are thankfully behind us with the new clean technology. We can now burn it with close to zero emission and I look forward to following the project in Egypt,” Professor Falcon said.
This project is a worthwhile investment for the country. The government’s decision to invest in base-load power will ensure every Egyptian can access reliable and affordable electricity.