For Egypt, Ingenuity for life means that Siemens is helping to create a resilient, flexible and secure energy system – a milestone of this development was recently celebrated at the Beni Suef combined cycle power plant construction site. Upon completion, it will be one of the largest power plants in the world, Sarah Hashish reports from Cairo.
Over the last months, the highway from Cairo to Beni Suef had witnessed the transportation of 400 tonnes of material and equipment. On Thursday May 19th, the route to the construction site of the new Beni Suef combined cycle power plant saw a different kind of traffic in the morning: Shuttle buses and limousines carried hundreds of distinguished guests – government officials, executives from the project’s consortium partners, energy leaders and the media – to Beni Suef where we celebrated the placement of the first H-class turbines in Egypt and the Middle East.
Three months ago I was fortunate to witness as these same gas turbines started their journey from Berlin Westhafen, where they were loaded onto a barge shipped via Rotterdam to the Port of Adabiya and then trucked to Beni Suef. It certainly felt special to be here and experience the culmination of this journey – a mere twelve months after the signing of the contract between Siemens and Egypt to deliver 16.4 GW of electricity capacity to the Egyptian national grid.
For Siemens in Egypt and the Middle East, the ceremony in Beni Suef also marked the launch of our Ingenuity for life campaign. Maximilian Egger, CEO of Siemens Egypt, was the first to take to the stage in a tent that was filled to capacity. “Today’s milestone is a perfect example for ingenuity,” he explained in his opening speech, addressing dignitaries such as the Deputy Minister for Electricity and Renewable Energy Eng. Osama Asran, the Govenor of Beni Suef Eng. Sherif Habib, the Chairman of the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company Eng. Gaber El Desouky, and Eng. Ahmed El Sewedy, CEO and President of Elsewedy Electric. “Simply the fact that we are standing here, surrounded by the world’s most powerful gas turbines, is a great example for innovation that benefits mankind. In nearly every language the word ‘ingenuity’ is associated with inventiveness, brilliance and creativity – but at the same time, it also evokes concepts like the art of engineering, genius, innovation and unity. It refers to our contribution to society and to the value we create every day, every month, every year, for an entire lifetime.”
Willi Meixner, CEO of Siemens’ Power and Gas Division was visibly moved when he took to the stage to shed a light on the incredible team effort that made this achievement in Beni Suef possible. “When we look at what we are doing at Siemens and look beyond the products, it is touching people and giving them a future, which really makes us proud,” he said. “Having the privilege of leading such a dedicated team, of working hand in hand with a customer, with a country and with partners like here in Beni Suef is a unique experience.” Currently, 4,500 people are working on the construction site, and over six million man-hours have been clocked without lost time incidents, testifying to the excellent HSE (health, safety and environment) measures implemented on site. Willi Meixner presented Eng. Gaber El Desouky from the customer EEHC with a small version of the state-of-the-art SGT5-8000H gas turbine, etched into glass. “This gift comes with the commitment from myself, from the Siemens team here in Egypt, the team in the region, and everyone in Siemens in the headquarters, the factories in Europe and around the world, that we are committed to deliver this project on time, with the right quality – and a lot of pride,” he promised El Desouky.
Other dignitaries that I welcomed on the stage in our temporary tent, set up to protect us from the already scorching heat, shared this sentiment. In his compelling speech, Eng. Ahmed El Sewedy of Siemens’ consortium partner Elsewedy Electric, evoked a time not so long ago: “I would like to take you back to the year 2014 – a year with many power outages, especially in the summertime. Whoever wanted to invest in Egypt at that time would say: But there is no electricity! Of course, without electricity there are no jobs and there’s no future.” He was keen to highlight the impact of Egypt’s great energy infrastructure strategy on the younger generation. “Power plants like these will create new jobs for young people!”
In his keynote address, Eng. Osama Asran, Deputy Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, confidently looked ahead from the day’s milestone achievement: “Beni Suef power plant will be working to full capacity by 2018 – at that point it will supply 15 million Egyptians with electricity.” Together with the Governor of Beni Suef, he stressed the importance of this energy also for the Upper Egypt region.
After the official part, everyone was keen to go on a tour of the site and to see the placement of the turbines in progress. Talking and hearing about the world’s most powerful gas turbine is one thing, standing next to it is quite another! On returning from the site, Eng. Gaber El Desouky told me, “It’s an amazing event. We’re talking about equipment that weighs 450 tonnes being placed and installed on its foundation – on time!“
The journey that has started in Berlin has come full circle for me here in Beni Suef. I am grateful to have been part of it.
(Source: Siemens AG – The Egypt Megaproject Diary)