The start of an experimental run of the electricity connection between Egypt and Sudan is scheduled for the end of the next month, Gamal Abdel-Rahim, chairman of the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), told Al-Ahram Weekly.
The experimental run had initially been scheduled for the end of December, but difficulties in construction in the region have delayed completion of the work.
Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T), one of the largest Indian multi-national construction firms, has now finalised the construction of all the electricity pylons used, even the very high ones crossing the Nile, and has completed the installation of most of the power lines.
The Sudanese side has also completed all the work entrusted to it and is expected to finalise the last touches of the project within the coming 10 days.
The length of the electricity link between the two countries is 167km, including 100km in Egyptian territory between Wadi Halfa and Toshki. The rest is in Sudan.
The capacity of the line is 100 MW at a voltage of 220 KV, which can be increased to 300 MW or more in the future.
The cost of the line on the Egyptian side is about $6.7 million, funded from the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy’s own resources.
The Sudanese side is expected to benefit from the Egyptian electricity supply, especially as Sudan produces only around 2,000 MW of electricity, far below its development needs.
“This project is the best proof of the integration between the Arab countries,” said Abdel-Rahim. He pointed out that such projects support Egypt’s electricity network and increase its reliability, securing energy supplies at any time of day or night.
Such electricity linkage projects qualified Egypt to act as a regional electricity hub, exchanging electricity with nearby countries during peak demand and exporting electricity at cost to those countries that need it, he added.
The connection with Sudan is one of several projects Egypt has with its neighbours. There is an existing electricity connection between Egypt and Libya, whereby Egypt provides Libya with electricity of a capacity of 100 MW at 220 KV.
There is also an electricity connection between Egypt and Jordan, through which Egypt can supply Jordan with electricity of up to 450 MW.
Egypt and Saudi Arabia are also working towards establishing a connection with a capacity of 3,000 MW at 500 KV DC (direct current). The connection was originally due to be completed in 2020 but has been extended to 2022 .
Feasibility studies for the project are still being evaluated by the Saudi side, and both sides are still deciding on points of linkage. The Egyptian-Saudi sides have a common desire to fulfill this huge project, Abdel-Rahim said.
The Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy is also currently evaluating a feasibility study by EuroAfrica Interconnector, project developer of an electricity connection between Egypt, Cyprus, Crete-Attica, Greece and Europe.
The project is expected to start with a capacity of 1,000 MW in the first phase to be doubled to 2,000 MW later.
The electricity exchange will benefit the countries concerned, especially during peak demand. Egypt can supply Europe with electricity from clean sources as well as from its backup reserves of electricity which reach 15,000 MW.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 17 January, 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Connecting Egypt and Sudan