By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 13 December 2017:
Egypt has agreed to provide Libya with electricity, starting next year. It is also to provide expertise in rebuilding the Libyan electricity industry
The decision came at a meeting in Cairo yesterday chaired by the Egyptian electricity minister Mohamed Shaker and attended by the head of the Libyan electricity company GECOL, Ali Mohamed Sassi, and the head of the Egyptian electricity company. The meeting is said to be a direct result of the visit to Egypt earlier this week by Presidency Council Faiez Serraj.
There is an existing agreement to supply Libya with Egyptian power; yesterday’s meeting merely agreed to enact it. Existing decisions to set up joint committees and have regular meetings were also given the green light. As part of these, Egypt will help in restructuring the Libyan electricity industry.
Egypt – and Tunisia – had previously provided Libya with electricity but the supply was cut because of unpaid bills. At the beginning of 2015, the Thinni administration agreed to pay the LD 2.5-million bill for Egyptian electricity supplied in November 2011, but it never happened.
Then, the following month, GECOL was busy saying that it did not need to import electricity from Egypt. However, by the summer that year and faced with power cuts, the Libya Dawn prime minister Khalifa Ghwell promised that Libya would import 75 MW of power from Egypt.
It too never happened.
Power from Egypt is to go to eastern Libya. Plans are also in hand, though, to import electricity from Algeria for the west and south of the country.
Three weeks ago, Sassi was in Algiers to discuss the idea with Algerian state power company Sonelgaz at the latter’s invitation.
“We have a surplus national production of electricity, especially in winter,” Sonelgaz CEO Mohamed Arkab said at the time. “Our Libyan brothers need this energy. We are therefore studying the possibilities of a high voltage electrical connection between Algeria and Libya through Tunisia to export our energy and offer our services through these power lines.”
He explained that there had been a study in 2010 to provide Algerian electricity to Libya but that the 2011 revolution and the subsequent political crisis had put it on hold.
“We want to be the first to be present on the Libyan market,” he said. “We must then take the opportunity to export our know-how to Libya, a country with which we have several points in common, including borders that can facilitate cooperation.”
For his part Sassi said during the visit: “We also want to benefit from the Algerian network to supply certain cities in western and southern Libya.”
He called on Sonelgaz to begin with setting up a transmission grid towards Libya.
A joint GECOL-Sonelgaz commission has been set up to oversee both the supply of power to Libya, including the construction of power lines and substations, as well as the expansion of the Libyan power industry.