Now, wind energy contributes 550 megawatts to the national power grid but the figure is expected to rise to 7,200 by 2020, the minister said.
The ministry is now encouraging the private sector to take part in power generation projects through providing all technical information needed to investors and offering necessary government guarantees, Younis said.
He unveiled that the private sector will contribute 1,370 megawatts to power generation projects.
Field studies are under way to set up a wind farm, the first to be set up by the private sector, he added. It will be situated in the Gulf of Suez and will be operational by 2014, he added.
Wind speeds in the Gulf of Suez consistently average about 9 to 10 meters a second, way ahead of comparable European locations, and making conditions ripe for harnessing wind power.
Currently only about 1.3% of the 22,580 megawatts of installed power capacity in Egypt is from wind turbines, but the supreme energy council in Egypt has approved a plan to increase the contribution of renewable energy to 20% of total capacity by 2020, with 12% of wind power.
Using wind turbines to help shoulder the country’s heavy electricity load makes a lot of sense and could turn out to be a big revenue generator as well.
Countries like Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco are all developing a big appetite for wind energy as they seek to diversify their power sources. And with crude oil prices creeping back up towards the $80 a barrel level again, renewable energy is beginning to make a whole lot of sense.
Indeed, Cairo-listed El Sewedy Cables has already identified the opportunity in renewables. It expects its growing wind energy segment to represent more than 15% of total revenues by 2013 with margins running at a chunky 20%. The possibility of more companies following suit is a strong one.