Egypt continues looking to wind energy to power some of its energy needs

Numerous reports in the past week indicate that Egypt, concerned about diminishing oil and gas supplies, is getting ready to expand its wind power sector.

Egypt, which is the world’s 16th most populous nation with more than 80 million people, has announced a plan to produce 2,600 megawatts of wind energy this year in collaboration with several EU states and Japan.

Egyptian media organisation Al-Masry Al-Youm reports Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Energy Hassan Younes as saying that the ministry had already raised funds for several wind farm plants — each with a capacity of 540 megawatts — in the Gulf of Suez.

The story noted he said fund-raising for the project had been done in cooperation with the German Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the EU, and the governments of Japan and Spain.

The story added the minister said fund-raising was currently underway for additional wind farms — each with a capacity of 580 megawatts — in cooperation with the Spanish government, the German Development Bank, Abu Dhabi and the French Development Agency, while negotiations were still underway with Japan to finance another wind farm west of the Nile with a capacity of 200 megawatts.

“And there’s another plan for the Egyptian private sector to build a station with a 1,370-megawatt capacity on a build-operate-transfer basis,” Younes was quoted as saying. “Wind is a priority for us in order to diversify our available sources of energy”.

A Reuters story notes the nation has said it aims to attract investments worth $110 billion in its energy sector by 2027.

“It wants 20% of its power to come from renewables by 2020, such as wind energy and solar power,” the story said, adding Egypt faced power outages last summer after a heat wave sparked power consumption surge.

In North Africa and the Middle East, solar yhermal is often seen as the main renewable energy that will play a role in meeting expanding energy needs. Indeed, the DESERTEC project aims to meet a considerable part of the increasing electricity demand of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as about 15% of Europe’s energy demand, from solar power captured in deserts by 2050. However, these regions also boast an enormous wind resource that should not be overlooked, especially since wind farms can be put up and begin operating quickly, and so could provide a rapid answer to some of their growing demand for clean, renewable power.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), Egypt had 430 MW of installed wind capacity at the end of 2009.

Producing 20% of Egypt’s electric power from renewable sources by 2020 will require a 12% contribution from wind energy, GWEC said, which translates into more than 7,200 MW of grid-connected wind farms.

By Chris Rose,