Egypt has switched on two renewable energy projects, photovoltaic plants based in Benban, Kom Osbo in the Aswan Province, 830 kilometers south of Cairo. The projects will deliver a combined megawatts of 130, enough energy to power 140,000 Egyptian homes.
The projects are jointly owned by Egypt’s Elsewedy Electric and EDF Renewables – the clean energy arm of French utilities giant Electricite de France (EDF). While both parties developed, financed and built the stations, USD 111 Mn of the 140 Mn cost of the project came from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development alongside French Development Bank Proparco.
The solar energy projects have a 25-year off-take agreement with the state-owned Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company. It has been commissioned under the auspices of the second round of the North African country’s Renewable Energies Feed In Tariff program, which was availed to foster the development of solar and wind projects in Egypt.
Egypt is the poster child for renewable energy in Africa, alongside its North African neighbors Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. While building the USD 2 Bn Benban Solar Park, it has other solar projects in the country and several in many other African countries.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s Feed In Tariff initiative started in October 2014 with the initial bid to commission clean energy projects worth 4,300 MW of electricity.
The Arab nation planned to deliver 2,300 MW through solar projects and the balance 2,000 MW through wind. In September 2016, the country initiated the program’s second round, which culminated in 30 projects capable of generating 2 GW of power attracting investments. Egypt plans to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020, and take it up to 42 percent by 2035.
“Having those two projects reaching commercial operation successfully today extends the IPPs [independent power projects] portfolio under Elsewedy Electric to include solar photovoltaic in addition to our existing wind and hydro IPPs,” Elsewedy Electric’s president and chief executive, Ahmed Elsewedy said.