Solar energy will power the wells used in Egypt's ambitious attempt to convert one-and-a-half million arid feddans (similar to acres) into arable land, reported state-owned news agency MENA on Sunday.
Egypt has suffered energy shortages since the summer of 2008. The success of president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's development projects could rest on finding enough energy.
Reclaiming land was a cornerstone of El-Sisi's electoral programme. It would boost Egypt's agriculture sector, which accounts for 17 percent of the nation's GDP – more than any other sector.
Egypt will track consumption of water from the wells and ban water-intensive farming on the land, according to terms released by the agriculture and irrigation ministries, reported MENA.
The megaproject will source 80 percent of its water from five thousand wells, which will be dug at a projected cost of LE6 billion.
The other 20 percent will come from the Nile, mainly for the Toushka region in Upper Egypt.
So far the government has dug 600 wells. There are 340 south of the Qattarra Depression, 102 in Toushka, 142 in or near Farafra and16 in the western dessert.