Egypt to sign MoU with foreign consultancy to explore opportunities for green hydrogen production: Electricity minister

Menna Alaa El-Din , Tuesday 4 Jan 2022

Egypt will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a foreign consultancy to prepare a 12-month strategy to determine accessibility and opportunities in Egypt for green hydrogen production, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker said.

Mohamed Shaker
Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy Mohamed Shaker. Ahram

The minister’s announcement came during an exclusive interview with Al-Ahram, which was published on Tuesday.

Green hydrogen — abundant, cheap, and clean-burning hydrogen made without fossil fuels — has long been described as the clean energy source of the future that could help the world achieve net-zero emissions.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has urged the necessity of formulating a national strategy for the production of green hydrogen in light of the growing international interest in this promising source of energy and as part of the country's ambitious national plans to transition to renewable sources of energy.

Shaker said such a strategy would localise hydrogen production and supplementary industries as well as determine local demand, hydrogen prices, and the strategy’s cost. 

A search for investment opportunities to localise green hydrogen production with a limited capacity ranging from 100 to 200 megawatts would then follow, he said. 

Several MoUs have been signed between the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC), the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) and five international companies for pilot projects in hydrogen production, the minister added.

The companies have already started conducting feasibility studies for the projects and the ministry will be providing the necessary land.                 

In August 2021, the EEHC and the German energy giant Siemens Energy signed an MoU on the development of the green hydrogen industry.

In January 2021, the electricity ministry also signed an agreement with a German company to commence studies on establishing a pilot project for producing green hydrogen in Egypt.

Additionally, Shaker discussed the breakthrough that was made by the government in ending electric power shortages that crippled the country in 2013 and 2014.

He said that the huge investments in the massive Benban Solar Power Park project in Aswan reflected the state’s unprecedented support for the private sector and has affirmed the sector’s confidence in the state regarding its efforts to shifting reliance towards renewable energy. 

During the power shortage crisis, El-Sisi declared electricity a national security matter that should not be neglected, Shaker said.

He added that the state was able to add 3,636 megawatts in 8.5 months only in what he described as “a global record,” one that was also unprecedented locally. 

“This allows us to move forward in establishing a 2035 national strategy that shifts the country’s dependence to renewable energy, such as solar, wind, and green hydrogen.” 

Last week, El-Sisi inspected the Benban Solar Power Park in Aswan — which is set to be one of the world’s largest solar power parks once it is completed — and inaugurated several electric power projects in the south of the country.

During his visit to Benban, El-Sisi stressed that Egypt aims to join the ranks of developed states in the production of electric power and renewable energy.

Egypt aims to produce 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022 and 42 percent by 2035.

The Benban Solar Park is being built in participation with the private sector and international partners, including the International Finance Corporation — a member of the World Bank Group — as well as British and Saudi capital.

Shaker said the private sector is currently investing around $4.4 billion to add new capacities from solar energy and wind energy to the country's electrical portfolio, adding that this new energy will be added to the national grid sometime between 2022 and 2023. 

Furthermore, he said that the investments by the private sector on the ground refute any debate that the private sector is not being given a chance in Egypt. 

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