Egypt’s renewable energy draws interest, but little progress

Egypt’s renewable energy draws interest, but little progress

The wind-farm project is estimated to cost around $580m according to Al-Arabiya Satellite Channel. However, official Egyptian sources could not confirm the size of investments of the prospective project given that it is in its “early stages at the moment”. (AFP Photo)

The wind-farm project is estimated to cost around $580m according to Al-Arabiya Satellite Channel. However, official Egyptian sources could not confirm the size of investments of the prospective project given that it is in its “early stages at the moment”.
(AFP Photo)

The UAE’s green energy firm Masdar is the last of a chain of foreign investors that have expressed interest in potential long-term investment opportunities in Egypt’s wind farms, the company reported.

The wind-farm project is estimated to cost around $580m according to Al-Arabiya Satellite Channel. However, official Egyptian sources could not confirm the size of investments of the prospective project given that it is in its “early stages at the moment”.

Mohamed El-Sobky, head of the Energy Research Center, said that even though the project represents “another milestone” in Egypt’s renewable energy sector, its details remain relatively vague.

“We hear of great, potential projects all the time, but their investments are questionable, not to mention that such projects need to be well-promoted,” El-Sobky said.

El-Sobky added that the sector also faces “vague legislation” especially investments in this field, which is why there no real estimates of the investments of such projects.

On the other hand, Amr Farouk, managing partner at Oasis Renewable Energy remains optimistic despite “unclear details of the project”.

“No matter what the details are, Egypt is a vital oil and gas player, and has one of the best potentials for not only wind energy, but also solar energy as the country already enjoys consistent wind patterns near the Red Sea coast,” he said.

Farouk stated that the country is already running wind farms in areas like Hurghada on the Red Sea coastline, and in Zaafaranah region near Suez.

In 2010, the Emirati firm and the Egyptian New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) signed an agreement with the intent of constructing a 200-megawatt wind park in Egypt as part of its long-term investment plan. The collaboration was the first joint-venture initiative between two countries in the green energy sector.

This June, the Ministry of Tourism encouraged hotels to raise dependency on renewable energy, which raised scepticism given the country’s frequent power-cuts at the peak of summer season.

Last January, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou announced three projects planned in the field for 2013. One of these projects, mainly targeted towards tourism, aims to modify tourist buses to use natural gas instead of diesel, once natural gas stations are built, while another aims to implement intelligent lighting, which detects the presence of people and turns the lights on or off in corridors and hallways automatically, in order to save energy. The third project, meanwhile, is built around a long-term target of switching 100,000 hotel rooms from conventional heating to solar water heating in the next five years.

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