CAIRO, Egypt, July 24 (Reuters) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday opened three new power stations built at a total cost of 6 billion euros ($7 billion) as part of the Arab country’s development drive.
Acute power shortages in the years immediately following Egypt’s 2011 uprising led to frequent summer blackouts and cuts to industrial output, but the new projects initiated in 2015 are part of an 8 billion euro deal to supply gas and wind power plants to boost electricity generation by 50 percent.
Attending the unveiling of the gas-powered station in the administrative capital, a new city being built as the future government seat east of Cairo, Sisi praised Egypt’s ability to meet the electricity needs of the country’s population of nearly 100 million.
“Today is a day of hope,” Sisi said. “We have come a long way in one of the most important elements of building and development in the state.”
The 4,800 megawatt (MW) plant was one of two built in a joint venture between Siemens and Egypt’s Orascom Construction, Orascom said in a statement, adding that the second project at Burrulus, in the Nile Delta, had generation capacity of 9,600 MW.
Sisi also unveiled a third gas-powered power station in Beni Suef, 110 kms (68 miles) south of Cairo. That plant also has capacity of 4,800 MW, sufficient to cover the needs of 15 million people, according to the state-run al-Ahram newspaper.
Sisi also opened one of the world’s largest wind farms, built at a cost of 12 billion Egyptian pounds ($673 million). State media said the Gebel el-Zeit station, located in the Red Sea province, has capacity of 580 MW.
Egypt aims to meet 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022 and up to 40 percent by 2035. Renewable energy currently covers only about 3 percent of Egypt’s needs. ($1 = 0.8551 euros) ($1 = 17.8400 Egyptian pounds) (Reporting by Mohamed el-Sherif Writing by Sami Aboudi Editing by David Goodman)