Egypt to build a solar park in Kom Ombo, Aswan

Solar panels set up by Tesla are seen at the San Juan Children's Hospital, after the island was hit by Hurricane Maria in September, in San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

The Egyptian New and Renewable Energy Authority on Thursday signed a 20 million euro deal with Spanish energy company TSK Grupo to build a 26 megawatt solar park in Kom Ombo, Aswan, MENA reported.

The project will receive funding by the French Agency for Development through a soft loan of 40 million euros.

“The plant will be built over an area of 500,000 square meters. It is expected to produce 53,000 MW annually, equivalent to 12,000 tonnes of fuel”, said the CEO of the New & Renewable Energy Authority, Mohamed al-Khayat, stressing on the importance of utilizing solar energy.

According to Khayat, Egypt will be able to spare 30,000 tons of Carbon Dioxide emission by 2019, with its current solar energy plan. The agreement comes as a new step towards Egypt long-term goal to produce 20 percent of its energy through renewable sources by 2022, and 37 percent by 2035.

This solar park is not the first to be announced in Egypt. Back in February, Egypt announced it would be building the Benben SolarPark near the southern city of Aswan. The ambitious projec is set to be the largest solar park in the world, and aspires to provide somewhere between 1.6-2 gigawatts of solar power by mid-2019.

Egyptian officials believe the project will produce 20 percent of Egypt’s power through renewable energy by 2020, serving around 350,000 Egyptians and provide eco-friendly and cost-efficient power.

The Benben complex aims to include 32 solar plants on a 37.2 square kilometer area and will churn out 1650 megawatts of electricity, according to the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Not only that, but Egypt is also forcing companies to start shifting to renewable energy sources. The Ministry of Electricity is planning to impose a minimum quota of renewable energy consumption on factories operating in the local market by mid 2019, a ministry source told al-Mal newspaper.

Renewable energy consumption will increase to contribute to around 6-8 percent of the total energy produced, the source said, adding that imposing a quota would help support  Egypt’s expansion into renewable energy projects and would ease some burdens on investors paying the feed-in-tariff projects.

This project comes at a time where Egypt’s position as a renewable energy hub leaped forward. Bloomberg’s Climatescope 2017 annual report said that Egypt’s ranking jumped by 23 places, reaching number 19 out of 71 countries assessed for the progress they have made towards clean energy. This makes Egypt the second fastest country to progress in the clean energy sector since last year.

In October 2017, the IFC said it had completed a US $653 million debt package to finance the building of 13 solar power plants in Egypt, expected to generate 590 megawatts.

A month later, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said that it is financing 16 new solar power plants with a capacity of 750 megawatts, making it the single largest investor in renewable energy in the country.

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