Geothermal Energy Capacity Building in Egypt (GEB)

Why GEB ?

In Egypt, energy contributes to the economic growth through domestic development and as an additional income through exporting the excess. Oil, natural gas, and coal represent the main energy resources in Egypt. To meet the general needs of energy, Egypt imports oil which further burdens the national economy especially with the decline in the Egyptian currency against the U.S. dollar. As a result, the government has started lifting energy subsidies causing a rise in the energy cost (oil, gas or electricity) nationally. Thus, the utilization of renewable energy sources in Egypt has become a necessity. Based on the Egyptian electricity holding company annual reports, the average electricity costs for residential use has increased by 53.28 % (from 0.3083 to 0.66 EGP/KWh) in the period from 2013-2018. Additionally, diversification of energy resources will improve the security and sustainability of Egyptian energy sector as well as encouraging the development of a “green economy”. The declared national Egyptian goal is to generate 20 % of the national energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2022 . In October 2016, the Supreme Council of Energy adopted the National Energy Strategy until 2035, for the maximization of the benefit from renewable energy resources to increase their share in the energy mix to more than 37% by 2035.

Geothermal resources utilize the heat from the Earth’s crust without releasing environmentally harmful emissions. Geothermal energy is constantly available, whereas wind and solar energies rely on favourable weather conditions. Egypt has promising potentials of geothermal energy resources located in the eastern and western deserts (partciulary in the Gulf of Suez area). Hence, the Egyptian government represented by New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) has recently considered the geothermal energy as a promising renewable energy resource in Egypt that will play a role in the 2020 and 2035 National Energy Strategy. On 24.04.2018 a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy (represented by NREA) and the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources (represented by GANOPE) to develop a general framework for cooperation among the parties to prepare the way to exploit Geothermal Energy in Egypt through a Geothermal Energy Program that studies promising sites to construct the first industrial pilot project for electricity generation from underground heat. However, the main reason of the late implementation of this agreement so far is the lack of local competencies.

Moreover, the private sector in Egypt is facing the uphill battle of energy cost increase in all its activities. Accordingly, both of companies and stakeholders are highly interested in investing for finding reliable methods to reduce or at least maintain energy costs in their activities for standing in worldwide competition without being dependent on the government costs of their power mix supply.

On the other hand, there are some Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that have accredited programs addressing the market needs providing efficient graduates who could contribute to the new fields of the renewable energy market. However, geothermal energy is addressed in these programs as a small topic in some general modules (in the scale of one lecture). Nonetheless, the teaching of geothermal energy at this modest level suffers from the lack of competent well-trained staff, well-developed curricula and availability of adequate laboratories and other teaching facilities (e.g. libraries).

GEB targets building the capacity in a new environmentally friendly energy era exploited from the Egyptian territories. GEB will create the first wave of Egyptian engineers and entrepreneurs able to secure jobs, open businesses, harness the under-utilised geothermal resources available in Egypt and the region (primarily Africa and the Middle East).

Project Objectives:

  • Improving the scientific skills of the Egyptian staff.
  • Improving competences of the Egyptian HEIs.
  • Building a new graduate engineering diploma in geothermal energy in Egypt.
  • Raising the awareness of the importance of geothermal energy in Egypt.
  • Constructing an Egyptian-European collaboration.
  • Setting up a stable network between the participating Egyptian HEIs in the geothermal energy field.
  • The establishment of the first educational geothermal pilot system in Egypt.
  • The establishment of geothermal integrated laboratories in Egyptian HEIs.

The expected outcomes/outputs of GEB:

  • The geothermal energy engineering diploma.
  • The first wave of diploma graduates.
  • The first educational geothermal energy pilot plant in Egypt.
  • Integrated geothermal energy laboratories at the participating EG HEIs.
  • Development of stronger academic relations between EG HEIs and EU HEIs in the field of geothermal energy.
  • Development of stronger academia -industry network between EG HEIs and local enterprises in the field of geothermal energy.
  • Raising national awareness about the benefits of the geothermal energy.
  • The Egyptian Society of Geothermal Energy.