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Egypt To Tackle Energy Crisis By Linking Grid With KSA

A $1.5 billion proposed project could see Egypt sharing electricity with Saudi Arabia in an attempt to solve both countries' ongoing energy shortages.

It is no secret that Egypt is undergoing an energy crisis as blackouts have become part of the Egyptian lifestyle. Looking to bring Egypt out of the dark is a massive project that aims to link Egypt's and Saudi Arabia's electricity grids.

The massive project was announced by officials on Monday who estimate the cost at $1.5 billion. "The project will be awarded mid-2015, and take three years to complete," Saleh al-Awaji, an undersecretary in the kingdom's Ministry of Water and Electricity, explained at the 4th Saudi Arabia Smart Grid and Green Energy conference in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

By linking the power grids, the two countries plan to share power during peak periods with the aim of reducing blackouts. According to an unnamed source from the Ministry of Electricity and Energy claims the project will include a 1300km long aerial cable from Egypt to Saudi with 20km of the cable running underwater.

As part of the deal, each country will cover the cost of running the cable on their territory which roughly works out to a cost of $600 million for Egypt and $900 million for Saudi Arabia. The link should help both countries as they both suffer from differing peak consumptions. In Saudi Arabia peak consumption takes place during daylight, while in Egypt the peak hours are between 8PM and 10PM.

By linking together, both countries hope to exchange approximately 3000 megawatts of electricity every day. In September, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said his country's power sector "needs colossal investment" to deal with power blackouts. Hopefully this project will be the first step in solving this problem and free Egypt from its dark days.