ENGIE Africa starts operation of Egypt’s largest wind farm

ENGIE Africa announced it has completed the construction and commissioning of Egypt’s largest wind farm, Ras Ghareb, with 262.5 megawatt capacity (MW), 45 days ahead of schedule.

The wind power project, which is also the first private wind farm of the nation, is now fully connected to the grid and is ready for commercial operation at maximum capacity. “The total investment cost of the project is approximately $380 million,” the company said in a statement.

The project company, Ras Ghareb Wind Energy, is 40 per cent owned by ENGIE with its consortium partners Toyota Tsusho/Eurus Energy Holdings having another 40 per cent and Orascom Construction owning the rest 20 per cent.

The wind farm is located near Ras Ghareb on the Gulf of Suez, a site with about 60 per cent of gross capacity factor. The energy is sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company.

Ras Ghareb Wind Energy is the first wind farm tendered on a Build-Own-Operate scheme and is part of the Egyptian government’s drive to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix with a target of wind generation capacity of 7 gigawatt (GW) by 2022.

“There is a huge potential for low-cost renewable energy in Africa. Ras Ghareb Wind Energy has been developed with a continuous focus on health and safety and is completely in line with ENGIE’s ambition in the zero-carbon transition. We are committed to apply the same standards with the same success for the adjacent 500 MW wind farm that is being developed by this consortium,” said ENGIE Africa’s Chief Executive Yoven Moorooven.

The consortium arranged non-recourse project financing from The Japan Bank for International Corporation in coordination with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Société Générale under a Nippon Export and Investment Insurance cover. Commercial International Bank Egypt is acting as working capital bank and Attijariwafa Bank provided an equity bridge loan for Orascom Construction.

ENGIE is keen to develop its service activities and energy solutions for smart cities in Egypt in areas such as facility management, gas distribution, cold networks or green mobility.

The company is focusing on renewables to accelerate the energy transition and has set a target of developing 9 GW of additional renewable capacity by 2021. It intends to invest about 2.5 billion euro in the sector.