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This report provides details on the historical, economic, market, and social context in which Egypt’s electric power system has developed and then, largely, faltered. For reasons connected to the massive political upheaval of the country’s recent years, the focus of this report is almost exclusively on the near-term, both looking back and looking ahead. While the first part of the report describes Egypt’s power system along various dimensions and thus delineates the massive challenges faced by the country, the second part of the report presents recent and upcoming developments undertaken to address and—hopefully—successfully tackle those challenges. As will be noted from caveats mentioned alongside these prospective solutions, there are many reasons for both optimism and skepticism.
Historical info and overview of Egypt’s power generation systems
The very recent history of Egypt’s energy market and production is of particular pertinence to this report – the country epitomizes the complexity of electric power system development in developing countries due to confluences of political, budgetary, resource, historical, regional, and global market factors in the 21st century. A key political, historical, and fiscal factor in the development—or, rather, the severe lack thereof—of the country’s power system infrastructure has been its longstanding energy subsidies, staggeringly amounting to 40% of the country’s budget, a cost equivalent to the state’s total expenditure on education and healthcare combined (O’Connell, 2015, para. 2). In a country which has had not one but two recent political uprisings, that sort of potential for revolutionary political change can work to either make governments extremely wary of upsetting electorates – or it can empower governments to undertake radical change. The issue was also dramatically brought to a head in late 2014, when the country suffered the latest and worst of its recurring power blackouts, this time during rush hour one morning in early September – a failure so extensive that telecommunications and water systems were also disrupted (DW, 2014, para. 2). This...
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