Egypt expects to see its wind power capacity reach 7,200 MW by 2020 and is boosting it to 550 MW by May

Egypt is likely to launch a second tender round to choose from 10 wind power firms short-listed to build its first private wind farm. In the first round, Egypt shortlisted the firms in November 2009 for the 250-megawatt wind energy project. The most populous Arab country, trying to diversify its energy sources, aims to generate 12 percent of its power from wind turbines by 2020.

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

Another difficulty could be securing financing. The government funds wind farm projects through soft financing, bank loans with long maturities and favourable interest rates.

Egypt should also speed up efforts to expand in solar energy. The country’s first Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant will start production by the end of the year. The integrated solar thermal power plant, located south of Cairo at Koraymat, has a capacity of 140 megawatts, of which 20 megawatts comes from concentrated solar generation.

The World Bank currently partly finances four energy projects in Egypt, including gas, electricity and renewable energy. Projects are worth a total of nearly $3 billion.

Hallouda said two more power projects, worth around $1.5 billion, were waiting for World Bank partial funding approval.

Egypt to allot more land for wind farms

Egypt’s Electricity Ministry will allocate 1.5 million feddans (630,000 hectares) of government land in Upper Egypt for wind farms, an official at the ministry said.

"Part of this land will be used for future tenders that we will announce for building wind farms, and the other part will be for wind farms funded by the government and multinational organisations," the official, who declined to be named, said.

The land will be in the provinces of Beni Suef, Minya, and Assiut. The ministry had said it was allocating 300,000 feddans of land on the Red Sea coast in the Gulf of Suez area to wind farm projects in June.

Egypt, which is a gas and oil producer, has been developing wind power along its Red Sea coast in its east. It aims to generate 12 percent of its power from wind turbines 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 renewable energy.

Egypt already has wind farms at Zafarana and Hurghada on the Red Sea coast.

Siemens builds wind power unit on Red Sea

Siemens has taken another step towards becoming one of the world’s top three wind turbines makers by 2012 by installing a 250-megawatt renewable energy plant in Egypt’s Gulf of Suez on the Red Sea coast.

Egypt’s state news agency quoted Emad Gali, head of Siemens’s renewable energy, oil and gas operations, as saying Egypt has huge potential in generating renewable energy, but has not used it optimally.

Until recently Germany-based Siemens has ranked as the world’s sixth biggest manufacturer of wind turbines in terms of market share, behind Denmark’s Vestas, US General Electric, Spain’s Gamesa, Germany’s Enercon and India’s Suzlon.

Siemens, Europe’s biggest engineering conglomerate, said it was on track towards becoming one of the world’s top three wind turbines makers by 2012.

Research shows that the world market for wind turbines was worth about 45 billion euros in 2009 and that global installed capacity will more than double to 340 gigawatts by 2013.

Egypt has been developing wind power along its eastern Red Sea coast. It has wind farms at Zafarana and Hurghada in the area, and has so far installed capacity of 550 megawatts (MW) of wind energy.

Egypt is to host a factory producing raw materials and gas used to generate solar energy, with $460 million of investments in total, state news agency Mena reported.

The new plant is expected to produce annually 3,000 tonnes of polysilicon, a key material in most photovoltaic solar cells, and 1,500 tonnes of a gas also used in the manufacture of cells.

According to Mena the plant will be built on a 200,000 sq m site northwest the Suez Canal. The country has strong solar energy potential due to low levels of rain and clouds, and year-round sun.