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Egypt Electricity Transmission Company: Expanding the domestic and global network [free access]

July 13, 2015

The Egyptian economy is facing an ever increasing demand for electricity, with electricity consumption expected to increase to 5,760 MW by 2017. Electricity consumption is forecast to increase at an average annual rate of 6.4 per cent and peak load on the power system at an average annual rate of 6.1 per cent by 2017. To meet the country’s growing demand, the government has developed an ambitious 2012–17 power plan. However, the effective realisation of the plan necessitates the existence of a strong transmission network in the region. The country’s transmission network is currently under the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC).

 

In 2001, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MoEE) initiated the restructuring process of the country’s power sector, which  led to the creation of EETC as the company responsible for power transmission in the region. EETC is one of the 16 affiliated companies that function under the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC), a state-owned organisation that is responsible for generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in the country.

 

Presently, EETC is responsible for the management, operation and maintenance of the extra high voltage and high voltage electric networks in Egypt. The firm monitors and controls transmission of power through the National Dispatch Center and the Regional Control Centers. EETC holds three long-term (20 years) build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) contracts with private sector firms. EETC engages in procurement of bulk power produced by Egypt’s power plants and sells it to the power distribution companies in the country.  The single buyer market currently does not allow for direct transactions between the generators and major consumers.

 

However, the firm’s dominance in the electricity transmission sector might reduce once the electricity liberalisation law, which will allow private players to step in, comes into existence.

 

Existing network

EETC’s high voltage network (132 kV and above) consisted of 22,382 km of transmission lines and 50,970 MVA of transformer capacity. EETC’s transmission line network grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2 per cent between 2009 and 2013. EEHC has also been enhancing transformer capacity to accommodate the growth in power load. The substation transformer capacity has grown at a CAGR of 5.6 per cent since 2009.

 

EETC also owns over 21,000 km of transmission lines and around 45,000 MVA of transformer capacity at the 66 kV and 33 kV levels. Egypt’s grid is interconnected with those of Jordan and Libya via a 400 kV and a 220 kV line, respectively.

 

The company’s network losses have been in the range of 11 per cent over the last few years, the lowest being in 2012 when the losses amounted to 10.79 per cent.

 

Table 1: Growth in EETC’s transmission line length (km)

Voltage

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014E

132 kV

2,504

2,484

2,484

2,484

2,485

2,485

220 kV

15,647

15,970

16,157

17,020

17,001

17,341

400 kV

33

33

33

33

33

33

500 kV

2,479

2,479

2,479

2,670

2,863

2,966

Total

20,663

20,966

21,153

22,207

22,382

22,825

Annual growth rate (%)

-

1.5

0.9

5

0.8

2.0

Note: E – estimated; Data is as of May 30 for the year mentioned. For 2014, figures have been estimated using CAGR between 2009 and 2013.

Source: EETC; Global Transmission Research

 

Table 2: Growth in EETC’s transformer capacity

Voltage

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014E

132 kV

3,467

3,451

3,483

3,457

3,522

3,536

220 kV

29,688

31,978

34,178

36,428

38,433

40,970

500 kV

7,765

8,515

8,515

9,015

9,015

9,358

Total

40,920

43,944

46,176

48,900

50,970

53,863

Annual growth rate (%)

-

7.4

5.1

5.9

4.2

5.7

Note: E – estimated

Data is as of May 30 for the year mentioned. For 2014, figures have been estimated using CAGR between 2009 and 2013.

Source: EETC; Global Transmission Research

 

Table 3: EETC’s key operational performance indicators1

 

2008

2012

2013

Network Losses (%)

11.24

10.79

11.02

Note: Data is as of May 30 for the year mentioned

1–Includes both transmission and distribution losses

Source: EETC

 

Upcoming plans and investments

Under the Ministry of Energy’s 2012–17 five-year plan, about 60,410 km of transmission and distribution lines and 18,125 MVA of transformer capacity are projected to be added to Egypt’s grid. However, Ministry data does not provide the breakdown by voltage levels.

 

During 2017–22, the Ministry plans to add 62,000 km of new distribution and transmission lines and 18,000 MVA of substation capacity. The Ministry has also formulated plans for the 2022–27 plan period. Under this, the country proposes to add 70,750 km of transmission and distribution lines and 18,600 MVA of transformer capacity.

 

One of the key transmission projects being implemented in the country is the Egyptian Power Transmission Project. It involves the construction of 530 km of high voltage lines, of which 380 km will be at the 220 kV level and 150 km at the 500 kV level. The project entails an investment of USD970 million and is slated for completion in 2015.

 

Other key projects include the 30-km-long, 500 kV Giza North power interconnection; the 28-km-long, 500 kV Samallout–Suez Gulf–Jebel al-Zayt interconnection; and the 500-km-long, 500 kV Sidi Krir–El Saloom transmission line.

 

The country also has plans to construct a second interconnection with Libya, a 500 kV line, in order to upgrade the interconnection with the Arab Maghreb countries. Also, a feasibility study is being conducted for a 220 kV interconnection with Sudan. There have been talks to connect Egypt’s power grid with the Nile Basin countries. Talks are also underway to connect the grids of Egypt and Greece via a 500 kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) subsea link.

 

Egypt recently issued a tender relating to an HVDC link with Saudi Arabia, under the Integrated Arab Electrical Interconnection project. When complete, the link will lead to an integrated interconnection among the Maghreb Arab countries, the Mashreq Arab countries and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The project involves the construction of a ±500 kV HVDC link from the proposed Badr substation in Egypt to the 380 kV Medina East substation in Saudi Arabia. It entails the construction of 1,320 km of power lines, of which 820 km will be built in Saudi Arabia and 480 km in Egypt, while 20 km will be an undersea cable. An intermediary 380 kV substation will also be built at Tabuk in northwest Saudi Arabia. The interconnector will have a transfer capacity of 3,000 MW. The project is estimated to cost USD1.6 billion, of which 40 per cent will be paid by Egypt and 60 per cent by Saudi Arabia. The project is slated for completion in 2016. However, it may be delayed.

 

With the completion of the above-mentioned links, Egypt is expected to emerge as a hub for power trade among the GCC, Arab Mashreq, Arab Maghreb and Nile Basin countries.

 

As per Global Transmission Research estimates, around USD3 billion is expected to be invested over the 2015–17 period.

 

Table 4: Planned additions to the transmission network of EETC1

 

2015-17

Transmission line length (km)

1,679

–220 kV AC

82

–500 kV AC

1,107

–500 kV DC2

490

Number of substations

10

–220 kV

5

–500 kV3

5

Note: 1–Global Transmission Research estimates for projects under implementation; does not include proposed cross-border projects with Libya and Greece.

2–This is the planned 500 kV undersea link with Saudi Arabia.

3–Does not include the 500 kV HVDC converter station planned to be built for the undersea link with Saudi Arabia.

AC: alternating current; DC: direct current

Source: EETC; Global Transmission Research

 

Table 5: EETC’s planned transmission projects

Project

Route

Voltage

Length (km)

Scheduled Start up

Egyptian Power Transmission Project

Dispersed across Egypt

 

220 and 500

530 km (150 km at 500 kV and 380 km at 220 kV)

2015

Giza North Power Interconnection Project

 

Giza North–Cairo line

 

500

30

2015

Samallout–Suez Gulf–Jebel al-Zayt Electrical Interconnection Project

 

Samallout–Gulf of Suez– Jebel al-Zayt line

 

500

280

December 2017

Helwan South Power Plant Electrical Interconnection Project

 

South Helwan– Zahraa El Maadi line, connection of Samalaut–Assiut line with 500 kV line from South Helwan at Assuit; GIS at Zahraa El Maadi substation

 

500

250

2016

Sidi Krir–El Saloom Transmission Line Project

 

Sidi Krir–El Saloom line and El Saloom substation

 

500

500

2017

Notes: GIS–gas-insulated switchgear

Source: EETC and Global Transmission Research

 

 

The way forward

In March 2015 a draft law liberalising Egypt’s power sector was approved, which will open up the transmission and sales segment to private sector participation. The law seeks to allow free competition in the generation, transfer and distribution of electricity along with separating the three segments. The law will allow private firms to transmit and sell power directly to consumers, thereby eliminating the role of EETC.

 

Egypt is heavily counting on the private sector to upgrade its energy infrastructure as the public enterprises are unable to do so on their own. The power sector is expected to require USD70 billion in investments till 2022, of which USD24 billion is expected to be drawn from the private sector.

 

However, to strengthen its hold, EETC can bank upon the geography of Egypt as the country has the potential to develop into a major electricity export route between Europe and North Africa because of its strategic location. Future grid interconnections with other North African countries as well as with Arab and Mediterranean countries can make Egypt a power export hub, thus boosting economic growth and development in the country.