“Ninety percent of the land in Egypt is empty and is suitable for setting up wind turbines,” Abou El-Ella said. “With solar power, plant costs are very high, and with hydraulic power reaching its maximum capacity, wind farms remain the best option for renewable energy in Egypt.”
The North African country already can generate 500 megawatts of power through wind power projects in the Zaafarana area in the Gulf of Suez. It already has wind farms at Zafarana and Hurghada in the area and has so far installed capacity of 430 MW of wind energy.
Egypt, the most populous Arab country, generates around 14% of its power needs from renewable sources and plans to increase that amount to 20% by 2020, of which 12% would come from wind power.
Egypt plans to build a 100 MW solar power plant between 2012 and 2017, after its first solar plant starts this year. Egypt aims to generate 20 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. Solar energy projects have lagged behind wind energy, but the country’s first Concentrating Solar Power at Koraymat, south of Cairo, is scheduled for completion this year.
That first Concentrating Solar Power plant involves 120 megawatt (MW) of conventional generation using natural gas and 20 MW of solar power. The second solar power project at Kom Ombo, further south and near the Aswan High Dam hydro-electric plant, would only use photovoltaic power and would have 100 MW capacity.
The project would cost 4 billion Egyptian pounds and had financial backing from the World Bank and the African Development Fund.