A $190m solar project is nearing completion in Egypt as the country aims to generate a fifth of its energy from renewables by 2022.
Three solar plants are being built in the Aswan region by a partnership involving Enara Bahrain, the renewable energy investment platform of Saudi’s private equity company Swicorp, and renewable energy provider ACCIONA Energia. Each company will own a 50% stake in the facilities, which are scheduled to start commercial service within the week.
The facilities cover 2.88 sq km and will produce 150MW of energy, equivalent to the consumption of approximately 150,000 homes, while cutting 297,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum, said ACCIONA.
José Manuel Entrecanales, ACCIONA president, said: “It is the first renewables project under our ownership in Egypt, a country that has set itself ambitious objectives in the development of renewable energies. This Beban PV complex – in which our three plants are included – is a great example of it as it will supply energy to more than 10,000 people.
“We are satisfied at having completed the assembly of the plants, and doing it with our partner Swicorp, with whom we have had a fantastic experience. We are working together on other renewable initiatives in Africa and the Middle East.”
The facilities form part of the Benban Solar Park, a 37.2 sq km scheme with a total capacity of 2GW. It was developed under the Egyptian government’s New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) feed-in tariff scheme, with the aim to source 20% of total generated energy from renewables by 2022, compared to 8% in 2015, according to the Ministry of Electricity & Renewable Energy’s Electricity Holding company annual report 2016-17. The Egyptian government is investing further in clean energy solutions to reduce dependency on oil and gas, which currently account for 90% of energy production.
The energy produced by the three facilities will supply power to the state-owned power utility Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) under a 25-year agreement tendered in 2016.
Funding has been provided by the World Bank's International Finance Corporation, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Investment Fund for Development Countries (IFU), South Korean conglomerate KCC, and the Shoaibi Group.
Rabeaa Fattal, executive director at Swicorp (UAE) and head of ENARA Renewable Energy Investment Platform, said: “We have been successful in bringing together an international consortium of sophisticated and well-established investors who have entrusted us in managing this investment to yield the right returns for everyone.”
Anders Paludan-Müller, investment director at the IFU, said: “This important investment in solar plants with Swicorp and ACCIONA will have great local impact in the form of local employment and increased supply of sustainable power, which is fundamental for the economic development in Egypt.”
☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.