Egypt inaugurates several power generation plants, projects

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CAIRO (AP) — Egypt inaugurated several power generation projects, including three electricity plants built by the German conglomerate Siemens, in a ceremony Tuesday attended by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, government ministers and officials.

The three combined-cycle power plants were built by Siemens at a cost of 6 billion euros, or $7.2 billion. They are in Kafr al-Sheikh and Beni Suef provinces and in the new capital city that is under construction outside of Cairo and are expected to provide 14,400 megawatts to Egypt's national electricity grid.

Also among other projects inaugurated was a big wind farm in Gabal al-Zeit, on the Red Sea.

At the ceremony, Electricity Minister Mohammed Shaker said Egypt has invested in projects in the electricity sector costing some 515 billion Egyptian pounds since June 2014.

Egypt suffered a severe power crunch in the years following a 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak. The nationwide power shortage largely blamed on poor maintenance and lack of funding caused rolling blackouts, particularly during summer, that affected tens of millions of people.

During the ceremony, el-Sissi said Egypt has come a long way and Egyptians should be proud of what has been accomplished.

The Electricity Ministry's spokesman, Ayman Hamza, told local media earlier that the projects are part of a wider plan to make Egypt a regional energy hub. He said the output will cover all domestic needs and will help boost electrical exchange with neighboring countries.

Recently, Egypt raised the price of electricity by an average of 26 percent as part of austerity measures designed to overhaul the country's economy. El-Sissi says the reforms, implemented shortly after he took office in 2014, have put Egypt on "the right track" and that they will spur economic growth by over seven percent in the coming years.

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