Dalia Mustafa Salama, Sunday 4 Feb 2024

European countries show growing interest in Egypt’s significant potential in renewable energy. Hence, Egypt can play a crucial role in supplying European markets with renewable electricity, contributing to environmental improvement, creating new job opportunities, and boosting economic growth and trade.

Egypt and Italy plan to develop a project for generating electricity, given Egypt’s potential in renewable energy. The project, whereby Egypt exports electricity depending on renewable sources to Italy, will enter a more advanced stage after the detailed study is completed and the two countries sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

This project will be developed with “K&K” and “CESI” companies. Ahram Online interviewed CESI’s CEO, Domenico Villani, who shed light on the details of the project.

Ahram Online: What is the idea behind this project? What are the goals of the study on developing an international grid connection between Egypt and Italy?

Domenico Villani: The project aims to connect Egypt and Italy using High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technology, a significant endeavour managed by CESI. As a global consulting company specialising in feasibility studies for international connections, our approach involves a comprehensive analysis of the technical, environmental, and economic impacts. The project envisions establishing a 3-gigawatt green corridor for exporting renewable energy from Egypt to Europe, with an underwater HVDC cable covering approximately 2800 kilometres.

AO: After the rise in gas prices and the energy crisis in Europe, will the project expand to include other countries if successful?

DV: Given Italy’s full integration into European energy markets, the project could facilitate electricity trading between Egypt and various parts of Europe. Even without a final evaluation in the feasibility study, the project may evolve, connecting Egypt directly to other countries in the Mediterranean Basin.

AO: If successful, will this study benefit European countries?

DV: Importing green energy from North Africa can significantly aid Europe in achieving carbon-neutral goals, reducing CO2 emissions by around 7.5 million tons annually. Initiatives like these enhance fuel supply diversification in Europe, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and bolster the continent’s resilience to the changing geopolitical scenarios.

AO: Climate challenges are accelerating, requiring more investments in renewable energy projects. What are the targets of promoting renewable energy use, considering energy has become crucial and necessary?

DV: Europe’s goals for carbon neutrality by 2050 demand substantial investments in renewable technologies. The unpredictability of fossil fuel prices and anticipated climate changes underscore the need for effective and immediate actions. This green revolution’s strength lies in collaboration beyond Europe, potentially connecting Europe electrically with East Africa for the first time.

AO: Will this project enhance Egypt’s global position as a hub capable of attracting major companies in the energy sector for collaboration?

DV: High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) technology is viewed as a strategic energy link connecting the European Union, the Middle East, North Africa, and Africa. In this context, Egypt can become a strategic centre, thanks to its planned or existing connections with Sudan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Gulf region.