The National Authority of Military Production and TCG, a Swiss company specialised in turning waste to energy, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) earlier this week to cooperate on the issue.
The drive behind the MoU is the state’s focus on establishing a better system to manage waste to create a healthier environment for Egyptians and collect revenues by using waste to generate electric power and thermal energy.
The MoU is also one of the means the ministry is adopting to cooperate with international companies for the transfer of modern technologies to upgrade domestic manufacturing, reduce imports and increase foreign currency.
Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad said military production companies would benefit from the Swiss technology used in the establishment of the waste recycling system, and in training technicians.
The Ministry of Environment has drawn up a plan to implement the programme in cooperation with the ministries of military production and local development and the Arab Organisation for Industrialisation, Fouad said, adding that sharing technological and technical expertise was vital to improve the national industry of converting waste to energy and organic fertilisers.
The MoU was signed a few days after the cabinet approved a decree that states in its Article 1 that “the purchase prices of electricity supplied to electricity distribution companies from power plants using solid waste, sludge from wastewater treatment plants, or from biogas extracted from safe sanitary landfills, will be set at a feed-in tariff of LE1.4 per kw/h.”
The purchasing price, set in the domestic currency, applies a pricing formula in force for over 25 years for electric power generated in accordance with Article 1 of the decree. It is also in line with the agreement to buy electric power generated from waste, signed between the governorate where the power plant is located and the owning party of the power plant — which allocates the land as a usufruct for a period of time equal to the duration of the electric power purchase agreement — for the price set in the decree.
The governorate in which the power plant is located is obliged to pay for the price of electricity generated from the power distribution companies. The governorate is also committed to providing the power plant with the amount of waste needed to produce electricity without incurring additional costs on the owner.
Article 4 of the decree states that the governorate housing the power plant shall collect a feed-in tariff of LE1.03 per kw/h from the entity using the electricity. The governorate’s cleaning fund shall bear a difference in price of LE0.37 per kw/h if electricity is produced from solid waste or biogas extracted from safe sanitary landfills. The wastewater treatment plant is committed to pay the same amount if electricity is produced from its sludge.
To approve projects converting waste to energy, a committee headed by Fouad was formed, comprising the ministers of electricity, petroleum, investment, local development and finance, in addition to three experts.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 7 November, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.