Egypt gets a powerful boost

June 06, 2017 - 09:50

A mega power project being built at a rapid pace will soon supply enough electricity to meet the needs of 45 million people and help Egypt effect more than $1 billion in fuel savings a year.

A view of Beni Suef Power Plant. — Photo Siemens

Viet Nam News

CAIRO – The land that hosts the only surviving wonder of the ancient world, the Cheops Pyramid, is seeing a modern, massive marvel unfold.

A mega power project being built at a rapid pace will soon supply enough electricity to meet the needs of 45 million people and help Egypt effect more than $1 billion in fuel savings a year.

These impressive figures are being presented by project officials who also say that it will help build local talent and capacity that will serve the nation’s energy sector for years to come.

The project, comprising three power plants, is being implemented by German powerhouse Siemens in what seems to be a tearing hurry.

General Manager of the megapower project in Egypt, Thierry Toupin, talks with Vietnamese reporters. — VNS Photo Ngân Bình

Just 18 months after the company won its single biggest order ever to expand power supply in the country, it has set a new global benchmark for the execution of fast-track power projects.

In this short period of time, Siemens and its local partners, Orascom Construction and Elsewedy Electric, have made great progress towards boosting Egypt’s power generation capacity by 45 per cent, adding 4.8 gigawatts (GW) to the national grid.

Under the 8 billion euro (nearly US$9 billion) mega project, the three natural gas-fired combined cycle power plants will have a total capacity of 14.4 GW.

At a press conference held in Cairo last month, journalists from nearly 20 countries in the world heard that the first phase of the project has been completed.

The promised goal of bringing 4.4 GW of new capacity to the grid was exceeded, with 4.8 GW already connected to the grid. The surplus capacity of 400 megawatts is sufficient to supply more than one million Egyptians with electricity.

The new power plants, Burullus (200km north of Cairo), Beni Suef (110km south) and New Capital (64km east), are expected to provide electricity to urban, rural and remote areas; and help reduce the outages and electricity cuts that hamper industrial production. And all this is expected to happen by the end of 2018.

The three power plants will be powered by 24 Siemens H-Class gas turbines, selected for their high output and efficiency. These turbines are expected to boost fuel consumption efficiency by around 60 per cent, enabling $1.3 billion in fuel savings on an annual basis, compared to installed power capacity.

When completed, the power plants will be the biggest gas fired combined-cycle power stations in the world.

Massive works

Construction work on the megaproject has been undertaken on a massive scale. More than 1.6 million tonnes of material, including 960,000 tonnes of concrete and 48,000 tonnes of rebar steel are being handled by more than 20,000 workers.

Major excavation work has been carried out to prepare the site of the Beni Suef power plant. This involved removing around 1,750,000 cubic metre of rocks, equivalent to the volume of the smaller Giza pyramid.

Emad Ghaly, CEO Siemens Egypt, told Vietnamese journalists that construction was going on 24/7 at the Beni Suef site “to achieve our next milestone that we want : one combined-cycled power plant to be conected to the grid before the end of this calendar year.”

He said there were around 6,000 engineers and workers on the site working in “complete harmony. And the biggest challenge as you can see around here is how to coordinate all these work in parallel and to really achieve our milestones as agreed with our clients.”

The scale of work was reemphasized by the General Manager of the megaproject, Thierry Toupin.

“This is a unique project in Siemens history, so the whole company, starting from CEO Joe Kaeser, is fully committed to making it a success,” he said.

Workforce for the future

The company sees its work also as a commitment to developing a highly-skilled Egyptian workforce for the future, and has entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to support occupational training in Egypt.

Egypt Siemens CEO Emad Ghaly at the Beni Suef construction site. — VNS Photo Ngân Bình

As part of this agreement, Siemens will join forces with the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of BMZ, to establish and operate a joint training centre and strengthen a selected Egyptian public vocational training institute.

In effect, Siemens is supporting the training of a local workforce of more than 5,500 talented individuals in the next four years.

Toupin said that the highly comprehensive training programme is good for the people of Egypt and a contribution by Siemens to the nation’s sustainable development.

This concept can be adapted to any other country after ascertaining that country’s specific needs, he added, when asked about the projects’ relevance for Viet Nam.

Toupin also said that the selection process for the engineers to be trained was very strict. To choose 600 candidates, 25,000 CVs were screened and the aspirants put through a strict selection process.

“Our objective is to have all the plants operated 100 per cent by Egyptians,” he added.

Construction of the new training centre will begin this year, in the Ain Sokhna area. When completed, the 2,000sq.m facility will serve 5,500 selected technicians and engineers over four years.

Earlier, speaking at the inauguration of the first phase of megaproject, Siemens President and CEO Joe Kaeser said: “When strong partners wholeheartedly agree on a goal and give their best to reach that goal, amazing things happen.”--VNS