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Wind in Egypt Presses On

Less than two months after former President Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office, the transition government now aims to push ahead with stalled plans to build new wind farms in the Gulf of Suez.

Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy Hassan Younis told local media that the government will launch a two-phase tender in May to select companies to build two of the four wind farms planned in the Gulf of Suez. Each facility is expected to have a total output of 250 MW when completed.

The bids, open to all companies, will be launched in cooperation with the European Union as well as Spanish and German banks, according to Younis.

Under the government plan to construct four wind farms in phases, investors will finance, build and operate the power facilities for a period of 20 to 25 years. They will sell the power generated by their wind farms to the state-owned Egyptian Electric Company at prices approved by the government.

Like many nations in Africa, Egypt suffers from frequent power outages or shortages.

In 2008, the country approved an ambitious plan to produce 20 percent of its total energy requirements from renewable energy sources by 2020, including a 7,200 MW contribution from wind turbines. To achieve that goal, the government has earmarked 7,600 square meters of desert land for wind energy parks.

In addition to the Gulf of Suez, areas with large wind potential are along the Nile River, desert regions both to the east and west of the river and parts of the Sinai.

Existing wind farms currently contribute less than 1 percent to Egypt’s energy mix.

In mid-2010, the World Bank agreed to lend Cairo US$220 million to build infrastructure that would connect wind farms to the national grid and to support some of the other wind farm projects planned in the country.

According to the Egyptian Wind Energy Association, the country is set to introduce a feed-in-tariff in 2012.

Egypt currently has a total electricity capacity of about 23,500 MW. The government hopes to increase it to 58,000 MW by 2027. 

 

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