Asharq Alawsat reports that the governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt have signed an agreement to establish electric power sharing between the two countries. The agreement would seek to take advantage of the differing peak demand periods for the two countries. Saudi Arabia’s demand peaks in the mid-afternoon while Egypt’s occurs in the early evening. An hour’s time zone difference helps.
Saudi Arabia is in the midst of developing a regional grid with other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council as well. This will make particular sense as nuclear power generation — still in planning phases — kicks in. While demand periods won’t differ much among the GCC states, the fact that each country has its own, varied power generation system means that short-term interruptions or failures can be ameliorated by borrowing power from other countries to meet immediate needs.
Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Arabia and Egypt signed a historic USD 1.6 billion deal on Saturday to link their electricity grids as part of a project that will allow the two countries to share power.
This agreement—signed by Saudi minister for electricity and water Abdullah bin Abdulrahman Al-Hosain and Egyptian energy minister Ahmed Eman—will require the construction of a 20 km underwater cable to facilitate electricity exchange.
A well-informed source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the Saudi Electricity Company and Egyptian Electric Holding Company are set to discuss the mechanisms of implementing this power grid interconnection and energy exchange over the coming days.
The source stressed that a request for tender for the project is open to international companies, in addition to local Saudi Arabian and Egyptian companies.
He added that financial and technical departments at the Saudi and Egyptian electricity companies are set to finalize a comprehensive plan for the mechanism needed to implement the electricity exchange project over the next few days.
The Saudi and Egyptian electricity companies will take responsibility for funding, ownership, operation, and maintenance of the power grid and electricity cables inside their respective territories. Ownership, funding, and operation of the underwater cable, which will cross the Gulf of Aqaba, will be shared by Cairo and Riyadh.