(Headline has been corrected to reflect Schneider Electric's participation in Phase 1 of the project) 

Energy management and automation company Schneider Electric has signed an agreement with Egypt's Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy to establish distribution control centres in the country, a top company official told Zawya Projects.

"The distribution control centres would be established in three phases within 30 months. Four would be operationalised in Phase 1, and five each in Phases 2 and 3 at a total estimated cost of 13.8 billion Egyptian pounds ($869 million)," said Walid Sheta, regional Cluster President of Schneider Electric Egypt, North Africa and Levant in an exclusive interview.

Schneider Electric would be involved in the first phase which would be completed over a 18-month period.

He said the agreement comes within the framework of a national plan to establish smart distribution and control centres to raise the level and quality of electricity supply in the country.

"These centres are being built at North and South Cairo, Alexandria, Delta, Sharm El-Sheikh, Hurghada, El-Minya and Ismailia. The agreement also includes the installation of more than 12,000 smart ring main units in 10 governorates," he said.

Sheta said the centres would become the backbone of Egypt's energy grid in the coming decades and accelerate the process of adopting renewable energy-based solutions.

"In control stations, Schneider Electric relies on the use of the state-of-the-art, AI-based technologies to analyse big data through its advanced distribution management system. This would enable the government to effectively manage the grid," he explained.


Walid Sheta, Regional Cluster President of Schneider Electric Egypt, North East Africa and Levant

Multiple sectors

Sheta said the company has supplied to sanitation, utilities and transportation infrastructure projects across Egypt.

"We have been supplying the electrical equipment for the first line of Cairo Metro since the 1990s. We have plans for the monorail project, as well as the fourth line of the Metro," he said.

In oil and gas sector, Schneider Electric has projects in the West Delta and Abu Rudeis gas fields. It has also supplied equipment for drilling and electrical works in the Zohr gas field.

"The size of our business in Phase 1 in the [Zohr] field is estimated at about ‎€60 million and we are currently in talks on the financial terms for Phase 2, which is expected to be around ‎€25 million," he said.

The company is also involved in the 150,000 cubic metres per day Al Galala seawater desalination project

"This is in addition to our work for two desalination plants in Ain Sokhna and New El Alamein. We are also working on the Al Gabal Al Asfar wastewater treatment plant."

The company is also participating in the development of smart cities in Egypt including the New Administrative Capital and New El Alamein cities, supplying them with its EcoStruxure technology for the management of utilities.

Ambitious plans

The Schneider Electric official said since 2000, the company's focus has shifted towards energy management and digitisation technology with emphasis on software sciences than on equipment

"Digitisation stands for the future and ensures greater and more effective control over electricity grids, in addition to saving more than 30 percent of energy," he noted.

With €35 million of direct investments in Egypt over the last two years, Sheta said the company has plans to bolster its operations in the country.

"Our total investments in Egypt amounted to €208 million over the last 30 years, which includes the construction of a new plant in Badr City for the production of low and medium-voltage distribution panels and a new distribution centre in 10th of Ramadan City staffed with 270 employees. We recently invested €10 million to boost the production capacity of Badr plant."

Sheta said the company intends to rely more on local sourcing for its Badr plant including the RM6 units that would be used in the manufacturing of the distribution and control centres.

(1 US Dollar = 15.86 Egyptian Pounds)

(Reporting by Marwa Abo Almajd; Editing by Anoop Menon)


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