Egypt leads Arab states in generating solar and wind power, set to raise capacity to 6.8 GW by 2024: GEM

Amr Kandil , Monday 25 Jul 2022

Egypt is at the top of the Arab region’s countries in combined utility-scale solar and wind generation at 3.5 GW in total, the Egyptian Cabinet said on Monday, citing a June report by the US-based Global Energy Monitor (GEM).

File Photo: Workers walk between photovoltaic panels at the Benban plant in Aswan, Egypt taken on November 17, 2019. Reuters


Egypt plans to add an extra 3.3 GW of utility-scale wind and solar power projects, raising its national combined capacity to 6.8 GW by 2024, according to the non-governmental organisation.

Egypt is also at the top of the region’s countries in terms of wind power alone, with its wind farms generating 1.6 GW of electricity.

The UAE comes second among Arab states in terms of current operating utility-scale wind and solar at 2.6 GW, followed by Morocco and Jordan at 1.9 GW and 1.7 GW respectively.

Transition to renewables

Since 2014, the Egyptian government has been working to expand renewable energy sources to ensure energy security, and has partnered with development banks to attract private investments in the renewable energy sector.

Under its Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy (ISES), Egypt aims to increase the supply of electricity generated from renewable sources to 42 percent by 2035.

Egypt has implemented multiple renewable energy projects over the past decade, including the Benban Solar Park in Upper Egypt's Aswan. Being the largest in Africa and one of the largest worldwide, Benban Solar Park houses more than 32 solar energy projects from photovoltaic cells with a total capacity of about 1,465 megawatts.

Egypt’s New Administrative Capital (NAC) is also set to launch an international tender to install photovoltaic solar cells on the rooftops of some of its residential buildings to generate electricity with an estimated capacity of 130 megawatts.

The NAC said in July that the project will be among the largest rooftop photovoltaic projects globally, and that it plans to start implementing the project in 2022 and deliver it sometime in 2023.

Egypt’s solar power plants are situated at sites characterized by the strength of solar brightness throughout the year and are not associated with a specific season, the cabinet's media centre pointed out.

The sun shines in Egypt for between nine and 11 hours a day, making Egypt one of the most suitable countries for solar-energy production.

In 2021, Egypt's 32 solar power plants produced about 4,500 gigawatt-hours (GWh), the cabinet media centre said in February.

Egypt was also one of the first countries in the Arab world that put wind farms into operation in 2000, according to the report.

Egypt aims to transform itself into a hub for the production and export of clean energy, especially green hydrogen and solar and wind energy, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said last week at a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

Green hydrogen, ammonia

Egypt aims in the coming years to reduce carbon emissions, promote the use of renewable energy sources, and use alternative energy forms including green hydrogen – as part of the National Climate Strategy 2050 announced by the government in May.

Egypt is pursuing green hydrogen and ammonia storage projects in cooperation with international partners amid the country’s plans to become a regional energy hub and its prioritisation of localising green hydrogen production.

Egypt seeks to attract foreign investments into green hydrogen production in order to also become a transit route for clean energy to Europe.

Egypt will reportedly have its first green hydrogen production plant running by November this year with 100 MW capacity in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone). This coincides with Egypt’s hosting of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh city.

The deal comes within the framework of an MoU that Egypt signed with Norway’s Scatec in March for the construction of Egypt’s first ammonia plant at a cost of $5 billion.

In August 2021, the country signed an MoU with the German giant Siemens Energy to jointly develop hydrogen-based industry in Egypt with export capability, starting with a pilot project comprising 100 to 200 MW capacity.

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