Economics Turning Egypt To Renewable Energy

The population of the Arab Republic of Egypt is approximately 103.30 million people[1]. In 2018, 100% of the people in this northeast African country had  access to electricity[2].

In 2019, Egypt’s economy was ranked 40th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export of natural gas, petrochemicals, textiles, pharmaceuticals, fruits, rice, cement, and steel.

In 2016, Egypt signed the Paris Climate Agreement[4], committing to “high CO2 mitigation levels” by phasing out energy subsidies by 2021.  Egypt also committed to developing new zero-carbon emission power plants.

In 2018, the state-owned electric company, Egyptian Electric Holding Company (EEHC) used natural gas (53.3%), oil (39.8%), renewable energy (3.5%), and coal (3.4%) to generate electricity in the country[5]. Hydropower, biomass, and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in Egypt.

In 2020, the Egyptian government announced the 2035 Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy, which emphasizes the importance of renewable energy. The government intends to increase the supply of electricity generated from renewable sources to 20% by 2022 and 42% by 2035.

Recent utility scale, renewable energy projects in Egypt include:

  • 200 MW Solar Project Saudi Arabian company, Acwa Power is continuing work on the Kom Ombo solar photovoltaic power plant, located approximately 325 miles south of Egypt’s capital, Cairo. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.
  • 250 MW Wind Project – Dutch renewable energy company, Lekela Power is continuing work on the West Bakr wind farm, located approximately 150 miles southeast of Cairo. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2021.
  • 252 MW Wind Project – Danish wind energy company, Vestas is continuing work on the Gulf of Suez 1 wind farm, located approximately 150 miles southeast of Cairo. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 300 MW Solar Project – United Arab Emirates power company, Amea Power Ltd has received approval from the government to increase the capacity of the Kom Ombo solar photovoltaic power plant from 200 MW to 500 MW.
  • 500 MW Wind Project – Egypt’s Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Mohamed Shaker has announced that German multinational, Siemens AG has begun work on a wind project, located in the Gulf of Suez, governorate of the Red Sea

Why is Egypt suddenly developing major wind and solar projects? Economics pure and simple. The export of natural gas is a major source of revenue for Egypt, while the import of oil negatively impacts the economy.

Egypt has significant renewable energy resources, including solar, wind, and hydropower. The country’s renewable energy resources can easily meet the country’s current and future power requirements.  The Egyptian government’s goal is to use renewable energy for domestic power, while preserving natural gas for foreign export.

 

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] Egypt Africa Population (2020) –  January 2, 2021 www.worldometers.info

[2] Egypt – The World Bank Group

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[5] International Energy Agency – Egypt Energy Outlook

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