Post-Revolution Egypt Restarts Planned Peak Load Swap With Saudis


Some very good news from Egypt. The very progressive renewable energy policy spearheaded by Hassan Younis, the pre-revolution Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy will continue, post-revolution. He is one of four ministers who will stay on in the new government and will continue their good work for the new Egypt.

One of the projects he was working on, that I mentioned in early January, that was interrupted by the revolution, is now back on track. Today there was a new announcement about a grid project between Egypt and Saudi Arabia – to swap “peak loads” (the period each day when the most power is needed on the grid, typically hot afternoons when air conditioners max out).

Swapping peak loads  is a way to cut down on the number of power plants that need to be built in countries in neighboring time zones. When Egyptians are in the worst of the afternoon heat, Saudis are driving home from work. Swapping the peak load is a smart grid energy efficiency measure that has the effect of reducing greenhouse gases.

Right before the protests started, an international tender for a new grid to swap peak loads between Egypt and Saudi Arabia was to have been put out in February, as Al Masry Al Youm reported at he time. But as January’s events in Egypt became increasingly intense, routine government matters were also disrupted.

Some of those government affairs were for the good, like developing more renewable energy and smart grid contracts. At Green Prophet we all worried, for instance about what will happen to solar energy projects like this one? So I was relieved to find this interview with a demonstrator who spoke to Ahram Online about resignations of the much contested Ahmed Shafiq government, suggesting that Younis might stay on.

“It is not that we are irrational and that we want everybody to go just like this. If someone is good and has a good reputation and was not involved in corruption and in the destruction of Egypt and is not trying to by-pass the revolution, then we don’t mind them,” said Yassin.

Today, with the first announcement from the post-revolution renewable energy ministry, it is official. Younis stayed on, and that project is back on track. Instead of the international tender to build the new grid in February, today, according to Bikyamasr it has merely been moved to April.

“CAIRO: The Egyptian government said it will invite tenders for the Egypt-Saudi Arabia power grid in mid-April.

The Minister of Electricity and Energy, Hassan Younis, said Egypt will send energy to Saudi Arabia through the power link in the afternoons, while Saudi would send Egypt electricity in the evenings, attributing the distribution to differences in peak use hours in the two countries.

The Project aims at exchanging 3,000 megawatts of electricity through direct current electrical grids. Saudi Electricity Co. and Egyptian Electricity Holding Co. will each finance, own, operate and maintain that part of the grid in their respective countries while dividing equally the cost of the underwater segment, Younis said Monday in a statement on the ministry’s website.”

This is the first post-revolution announcement from Egypt.
Image: Being Islam
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