Egyptian power outages cause discontent

Posted by: Yes Solar Cape (Cape Town, South Africa) – 23 August 2010

Egypt aims to boost power capacity by 550 MW in coming weeks to tackle outages that economists warn could cramp investment and have caused rumblings of public discontent during a hot summer and the Muslim month of fasting.

Aswan High Dam

The most populous Arab country will start production at a new 375 MW power station in Nubaria province north of Cairo on September 10, and boost output from hydro-electric turbines at the Aswan High Dam, Cabinet Spokesman Magdy Rady said on Monday.

Power consumption has surged as summer temperatures climbed to about 40 degrees Celsius and Muslim families gather each day at sunset to break the fast during Ramadan.

Egypt will boost electricity generation further in December by launching a new power station at Koraymat, south of Cairo, Rady told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

That plant will offer 120 MW of conventional generation using natural gas and 20 MW of solar power.

Economists say Egypt needs to spend more to sustain faster economic growth and avoid impeding investment, particularly in industries such as cement and steel.

Electricity Ministry Spokesman Aktham Aboul Ela said on Thursday that power usage had increased by 11.5 percent year on year and that peak demand hit 23,500 MW this year.

That is almost equal to Egypt’s installed capacity of 25,000 MW, the figure cited by Electricity Minister Hassan Younes last year. The minister said Egypt aimed to add 58,000 MW by 2027.

Outages have hit several provinces including the capital Cairo, with cuts mostly during the evening, newspapers reported.

The daily al-Masry al-Youm said protesters gathered in al-Fayoum south of Cairo to complain of power shortages. Suburbs of Cairo have also suffered water cuts as the outages stopped pumping stations, the official news agency said.

– Reuters

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