Egypt and Saudi Arabia to connect grid networks for reliability

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The Saudi Electricity Company and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company have awarded a tender for the development of the first-ever large-scale HVDC power line that will interconnect the Middle East and North Africa.

The Hitachi Energy-led consortium, in collaboration with Saudi Services for Electronic Mechanic Works and Orascom Construction in Egypt, will be providing system studies, design and engineering, transformers, valves, high-voltage equipment and technical advisory, commissioning and services for the project.

The 500KV – 1,350km network will comprise overhead power lines and a subsea cable across the Red Sea.

The power line will enable up to 3,000MW of energy, mostly renewable electricity, to be transported between Egypt and Saudi Arabia to help ensure the reliability of grid networks and their decarbonisation.

The project is the first that will allow electricity trading between Egpyt and Saudi Arabia. The line will enable Egypt to access the Arabian Gulf’s power grids and Saudi Arabia’s access to North Africa’s, a move that will enable the two countries to meet renewable energy and energy security goals.

Saudi Arabia wants to increase the share of natural gas and renewable energy sources to approximately 50% by 2030 whilst Egypt intends to increase renewables capacity to 42% by 2035.

Interconnectors between countries and regions are expected to help address instability within energy markets that are expected to result from renewable energy curtailment and fluctuations. The transmission line is expected to be expanded to allow the transportation of electricity between North Africa, the Gulf, and Europe. In this case, solar power will be transported from the south and east and wind and hydropower from the north.

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In addition to ensuring energy security, the interconnector between Egpyt and Saudi Arabia is expected to create jobs, help the two countries recover from the pandemic and allow for knowledge sharing.

Claudio Facchin, CEO, Hitachi Energy, said: “The clean energy transition is one of the most urgent and important challenges of our times and we must innovate and collaborate to accelerate our carbon-neutral future.”

Facchin said his firm will make use of the experience gained in developing the 720km North Sea Link, the longest subsea electricity cable in the world that connects Britain and Norway, in delivering the Egpyt and Saudi Arabia project.

H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman – Saudi Minister of Energy said the project enables his country to move closer to goals set under the country’s Vision 2030 which aims to help the country to reduce its reliance on oil whilst ensuring energy security and sustainability and economic prosperity.