La energía eólica en Egipto: cuenta con 365 MW y acaba de aprobar un parque eólico de 200 megavatios

El Banco Europeo de Inversiones, la Comisión Europea y el Banco para la Reconstrucción y el Desarrollo Alemán (KFW) prometieron aportar un máximo de 271,5 millones de euros (380 millones de dólares) en préstamos y subsidios a Egipto para financiar el parque eólico en el área de el Zeit.

Egipto, país productor de gas y petróleo, está desarrollando la energía eólica a lo largo de su costa en el Mar Rojo en el este del país. El Cairo busca generar el 12 por ciento de su energía de parques eólicos y un total del 20 por ciento de fuentes renovables para el año 2020.

El país del norte de Africa anunció el 9 de mayo una subasta para la construcción y operación de un campo eólico de 250 megavatios, también en su costa del Mar Rojo, y hasta el momento 26 empresas internacionales se han mostrado interesadas.

Potencia eólica instalada en Egipto
2000-5 MW
2002-68 MW
2003-98 MW
2004-145 MW
2005-145 MW
2006-230 MW
2007-310 MW
2008-365 MW
2009-630 MW
2010-850 MW
2011-1.050 MW


Egypt parliament approves wind farm project

Egypt’s lower house of parliament on Monday approved a project to build a 200-megawatt wind farm on the country’s Red Sea coast alongside European partners.

The European Investment Bank, the European Commission and the German Bank of Reconstruction and Development (KFW) will pledge a maximum of 271.5 million euros in loans and grants to Egypt to fund the wind farm in the Gulf of el Zeit area.

Egypt, which is a gas and oil producer, has been developing wind power along its Red Sea coast in the east of the country. It aims to generate 12 percent of its power from wind farms and a total of 20 percent from renewable sources by 2020.

The North African country announced a tender for a 250-megawatt wind farm on a build-operate-own (BOO) basis, also on its Red Sea coast, on May 9. A total of 26 international companies have expressed interest in the tender since then.

Officials say Egypt’s combined oil and gas reserves will last the most populous Arab country for roughly three more decades, pushing the drive for more reliance on renewable energy.

Egypt already has wind farms at Zafarana and Hurghada on the Red Sea coast. It has also said it wants to build several civilian nuclear power stations to help avoid an energy crunch.

Egypt wind farm bid attracts 26 international firms

A total of 26 international companies have expressed interest in a tender to build a 250-megawatt wind farm on Egypt’s east coast.

The companies have all asked to buy the booklet of conditions for the tender, the agency said, without naming them.

Egypt announced the tender for the wind farm on a build-operate-own (BOO) basis on May 9. Firms were invited to submit qualification documents by July 21 for short-listing.

The project developer would be required to design, finance, construct, own and operate the power plant for 20 to 25 years, and would sell the power produced during that period to the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company.

Egypt, which is a gas and oil producer, has been developing wind power along its Red Sea coast in the east of the country. It aims to generate 12 percent of its power from wind farms and a total of 20 percent from renewable sources by 2020.

Officials say Egypt’s combined oil and gas reserves will last the most populous Arab country for roughly three more decades, pushing the drive for more reliance on renewable energy. Egypt already has farms at Zafarana and Hurghada on the Red Sea coast.

Wind energy in Egypt

During the last two decades, renewable energy has gained momentum in Egypt. Supported by sustained government commitment and fruitful international cooperation, Egypt has passed the stage of initial resource assessment and demonstration projects towards the planning and implementation of large scale grid connected projects.

The New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) was set up in 1986, with the establishment of testing & certification laboratories and personnel training. The practical work of NREA began with assessing the renewable energy resource and investigating the choices of different technologies through studies and pilot projects, as well as introducing some of these technologies to the Egyptian market and supporting the initiatives of local industry.

Since then a series of large-scale wind energy projects have been built in Egypt. In 2008, 55 MW of wind power was added, bringing the total installed wind capacity up to 365 MW at the end of 2008. Several additional projects are in the pipeline.

An excellent wind resource

Egypt enjoys an excellent wind regime, particularly in the Gulf of Suez, where average wind speeds reach 10 m/sec. Egypt cooperated with Denmark to produce a Wind Atlas, issued in 1996, for the Gulf of Suez west coast. In 2003, a detailed Wind Atlas for the same area was issued, concluding that the region can host several large scale wind farms.

The atlas was expanded to cover the entire land area of Egypt in 2005, to establish the meteorological basis for the assessment of wind energy resources all over Egypt. The atlas indicates that large regions of the eastern and western deserts of the Nile River and parts of Sinai have average annual wind speeds of 7-8 m/s.

Egypt has large deserts and abundant land mass, only 7% of which is heavily populated. These areas are well suited to host renewable energy projects to increase the country’s share of renewable energy as well as to export excess energy to Europe.

Besides the areas already earmarked with high wind potential on the west of the Gulf of Suez, work is underway to earmark other promising areas for future wind projects. Land lease agreements for these areas will be signed with qualified wind project developers.

Grid infrastructure

The Egyptian national grid is extensive, providing over 99% of the population with modern electric energy services. Currently, grid connected renewable energy projects in Egypt enjoy the right of access and priority in dispatching.

Policy development and investment opportunities

In February 2008, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Energy approved an ambitious plan to produce 20% of total electricity from renewable energies by 2020, including a 12% contribution from wind energy. This translates into more than 7,200 MW of grid-connected wind farms. The plan gives enough room for private investors to play a major role in realizing this goal, and the government anticipates that about 400 MW/year will be undertaken by the private sector, while the NREA will carry out about 200 MW/year.

A recently drafted new electricity act, which is undergoing consultation with stakeholders, has been designed to reflect the ongoing market reforms and to strengthen the regulatory agency. It includes articles supporting renewable energy through encouraging private investment in the sector. In addition, it guarantees third party access and priority dispatch for renewable electricity.

Polices to foster an increasing wind contribution in the Egyptian electricity mix consist of two phases. Phase one will use a competitive bids approach, through international tenders requesting bids from the private sector to supply energy from renewables. The financial risk for investors is reduced through guaranteed long term power purchase agreements. The prequalification documents for the first tender documents of the competitive bids are presently under preparation. In addition, a preparatory workshop will be held to assess the interest and to consider the inputs and concerns of project developers as well as other stakeholders.

In phase two, a feed-in-tariff will be introduced; taking into consideration the prices achieved in phase one.

The private sector is encouraged to play a key role in achieving the 2020 goal by building wind farms to satisfy their own power needs or to sell electricity to consumers through the national grid. Wind farm developers are asked to coordinate with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) and the Egyptian Electricity Regulatory Agency for issues such as grid connection, wheeling, backup and power purchase agreements.

The NREA supports private investment in wind energy by providing resource assessment, the necessary data for feasibility studies and technical support for potential project developers.

Large scale projects in Egypt

Zafarana wind farm

During the last decade a series of wind projects were established in Zafarana, with a total capacity of 360 MW. The farm has been constructed and operated in stages since 2001, in cooperation with Germany, Denmark and Spain.

A partnership with Japan in 2008 added 55 MW, and an additional 75 MW will begin operation in 2009. In 2007, 120 MW were planned in cooperation with Denmark and will be operational by 2010. All in all, Zafarana will host 545 MW of grid connected wind power, to become the largest wind farm in Africa and the Middle East.

From July 2007-June 2008, 840 GWh of electricity were generated by the Zafarana wind farm with an average capacity factor of 35.5%, saving 466,000 tons of CO2.

Gulf of El-Zayt

Further developments are in the pipeline in the Gulf of El-Zayt, including a 200 MW project in cooperation with Germany and the European Investment Bank; a 220 MW wind farm in cooperation with Japan; and a 300 MW wind farm in cooperation with Spain.

In addition to this, an Italian company expressed interest in establishing a 120 MW wind farm in the Gulf of El-Zayt, to be expanded to 400 MW at a later stage. These projects aim to generate electricity for cement factories in the Suez area. An agreement has already been signed with the NREA, and a bird migration study on the proposed site is expected to be finalized by early 2009.

Africa’s renewable energy plans ‘need incentives’

Africa renewable energy sector must be pumped with incentives to attract investors and flourish. The continent already battles to keep the lights on as demand rises quickly in the face of a growing population that has outstripped the existing power generation capacity.

“Governments need to open their power sectors, introduce mechanisms to encourage participation and bring the costs down,” said Frost & Sullivan energy analyst Sipha Ndawonde. Governments need to regulate their power sectors to convince investors that they can get what they pay for without delays.

Most countries in Africa have begun to reform their power sectors, but regulations are far from perfect, with a lack of transparency and bureaucratic hurdles confusing investors. Feed-in tariffs that allow for good returns, lower import duties for key equipment, reliable transmission and distribution lines and expanded ports were also needed, Ndawonde said.

Tanzania’s Deputy Energy Minister Adam Malima said governments needed to be bold, speed up the introduction of projects and make renewable power more accessible. “The technology has to be cheaper … we need to develop a local renewable industry ,” he said.

North Africa has been the pioneer in developing wind power projects on the continent, with 365MW installed in Egypt alone. “These countries benefit from the proximity to the European markets and the need for Europe to reduce its carbon footprint,” Ndawonde said.

SA is expected to invest in wind power to alleviate short-term pressure on its strained power supply. East Africa and west Africa may use wind for main power capacity, especially after droughts raised doubts about the reliability of the hydro sources they largely depend on.

“Europe will also be looking to trade carbon credits, and wind and other renewables will become a way for Africa to generate additional revenue,” Ndawonde said. Solar power is so far mainly used for off-grid applications, to power farms and game lodges, but together with wind and the conversion of waste could find a market, especially once industries embrace it as part of their power consumption.

The need to conserve and use greener energy has yet to permeate the culture, especially with three- quarters of Sub-Saharan Africa not connected to the grid, analysts said. With the need to boost power supply quickly, governments may need to focus on producing cleaner coal first, analysts said.

The liquidity available in the market has shrunk because of the global financial crisis, but private investors say they are still keen to invest in African energy if projects are realistic, well structured and their risk credentials are sound. “We are very bullish about renewables … the South African market has funds for renewable deals as long as they fit under the new renewable feed- in tariff programme,” said Standard Bank ’s head of energy investment unit Paul Eardley-Taylor.