An Egypt-Saudi electrical linkage initiative was agreed and witnessed on Thursday morning by Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi. The project aims to link the electric grids of both countries, producing a total of three thousand megawatts to ease the strain on hours of peak consumption.
Saudi Arabia’s peak electrical use is around noon, while Egypt’s peak is at sunset, with a gap of around three hours. This is conducive to an efficient energy transfer between both countries. During hours of regular use, the extra electrical capacity could be commercially traded.
The project is estimated to cost around US$1.6 billion, with Egypt providing US$600 million of the total. It will be co-financed by Energias du Portugal (EDP), the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the World Bank, and the Egyptian Company for Transport. Operational testing would take place by the end of 2016.
The Egyptian Electric Holding Company and the Saudi Electricity Company agreed to assume responsibility for financing, owning, operating and maintaining electrical systems within their own territories, up to the seacoast in the Gulf of Aqaba, including peripheral equipment and underground cables. Responsibility for marine cables would be shared equally between both companies.
Egypt has been exploring a number of alternative models of electricity generation to overcome the incessant black outs the country has been experiencing over the past few years during the summer time.