Egypt to invite tenders for wind energy plants

Yunes said in a statement that tender offers for the wind turbines would be invited during 2011, with the co-operation of German banks, the European Union and the governments of Spain and Japan.

The wind turbines parks would be erected mainly around the the Gulf of Suez, which is one of the Middle East’s windiest regions. The minister called upon the private sector to develop 1,370 megawatts of wind power capacity.

According to figures from the World Bank, Egypt’s electricity needs grew on average by seven percent annually between 1997 and 2004, and will continue to grow by six to seven percent each year until 2014.

The Gulf of Suez is among the world’s most suitable locations for wind energy, with a potential to develop capacity of at least 7,200 megawatts by 2022, according to the World Bank.

Egypt’s population is the Arab world’s largest, having doubled in nearly 30 years to 80 million, and the country’s economy is projected to grow by 6.5 percent in 2010-2011.

Egyptians are already subject to long and frequent power cuts due to the country’s ageing and inadequate power-transmission grid.

Egypt aspires to generate 20 percent of its energy needs by renewable sources and is already finalising its first solar power plant with a capacity of 140 megawatts in Kuraymat, south of Cairo.

It announced in August that it is also preparing to launch a tender to build its first nuclear power plant at El-Dabaa on the Mediterranean coast, west of Alexandria, at a cost of around four billion dollars (3.1 billion euros). Egypt hopes the plant will contribute 1,000 megawatts to the Egyptian power grid by 2019.