German chancellor Angela Merkel and Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi symbolically inaugurated the first phase of Siemens’ megaproject in Egypt on 2 March. The event marks an important milestone towards its completion, which will increase the country’s power generation capacity by 45 % when finished. Together with its local partners, Orascom Construction and Elsewedy Electric, Siemens broke records in modern power plant construction by connecting 4.8 GW of new capacity to the grid in only 18 months after the signing of the contract for the company’s biggest ever single order.
When completed, each of the project’s three power plants, located at Beni Suef, New Capital and Burullus, will become the biggest gas-fired combined-cycle power station in the world. Together, they will have a combined capacity of 14.4 GW.
The construction works are formidable. More than 1.6 million tonnes of material – including 960 000 tonnes of concrete and 48 000 tonnes of rebar steel – will have been processed before completion. At Beni Suef, huge excavation works were necessary to prepare the site, leading to the removal of around 1.7 million cubic metres of rock. This is equivalent to the volume of one of the pyramids at Giza.
Siemens has also put into operation the first three substations, Etay El-Baroud, Maghagha and Kafr El Zayat, that will transmit power from the new plants to Egypt’s power grid. In December, Siemens and El Sewedy Electric T&D, signed a contract with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company for the design, engineering, supply and installation of six substations, located in the cities of Maghagha, Etay El-Baroud, Banha, Wadi El-Natroun, Assiut and Kafr El Zayat. These will be completed and connected to the grid by the end of December this year.
Financing was also an important source of support for the megaproject. Financing for the Siemens part of the contracts was structured by its Financial Services division. It also included a tailored guarantee concept. The financing of major parts of Siemens’ and its local partners’ scope for the three power plants, was provided by a consortium of international and regional banks.