World Bank funds Egypt?s Kom Ombo concentrating solar power plant

After having launched the new renewable development policy, with the construction of the Zafarana and Hurghada wind energy projects (545 MW when completed), Egypt’s government is now also intensely focusing on solar energy technologies.

The aim is to generate 20% of the electricity output from renewables by 2020, also considering the electricity deficit scenario, which has led the government in Cairo to plan investments for 100 to 120 billion dollars in order to triple the capacity currently installed in this country (25,000 MW) by 2027.

A first 20 MW solar thermal project is almost completed in Koraymat, south of Cairo. This is a concentrating solar power plant that is integrated into the 120 MW gas combined cycle facility, so that the plant’s total capacity amounts to 140 MW.

The next plant that will be built is the 100 MW Kom Ombo facility (in a southern region near the Assuan dam). This project, which also employs concentrating solar power technology, has now been granted a loan by the World Bank amounting to 70 million dollars (195 million euros).

Of this loan, 170 million are directly provided by the World Bank, while the remaining 100 million will be issued by the Clean Technology Fund, its affiliate. Further funds are expected to be granted by other international agencies, one of which is the African Development Fund.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2012. The plant should be put fully into service 4 years later, with an investment of 4 billion of Egyptian lire (approximately 506 million euros).

There are also plans to construct four 250 MW wind farm plants on the Red Sea coast at Gabal el-Zeit. Tendering takes place in September 2010, open to ten companies shortlisted from earlier applications, and the wind turbines project is expected to start operations in 2014 or 2015. Over 7 GW of wind power could potentially be developed by 2020 in this area of Egypt alone.