Egyptian Solar set to expand beyond the massive 1.8 GW Benban PV project

Egyptian solar set to expand beyond the massive 1.8 GW Benban PV project

Egypt was certainly one of many first African nations to develop large-scale renewable vitality duties and had 555 MW of wind power period functionality by 2012. That was the results of donor assist, nonetheless, reasonably than a push by the Egyptian authorities to faucet its plentiful renewable vitality belongings. The world’s three biggest combined cycle gas-fired power vegetation was achieved by Siemens, in 2018, for Egyptian Electrical Vitality Holding Agency (EEHC). They’ve a combined functionality of 14.4 GW, underlining Cairo’s dedication to pure gasoline.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has pushed up gasoline prices and prompted European markets to interchange Russian gasoline with numerous sources. Egypt shipped 80% of its liquefied pure gasoline to Europe ultimate 12 months. The following revenue, combined with falling PV factor costs has modified the panorama of Egyptian vitality economics.

The most recent figures printed by Egypt’s New and Renewable Vitality Authority (NREA) level out that the nation’s power period mixed is in the meanwhile 80% thermal, 12% wind, 6% hydro, and a few% photograph voltaic. The federal authorities’s purpose is to realize 42% renewables inside the mix, along with 22% photograph voltaic, by 2030. It has been estimated that it’ll require 31 GW of photograph voltaic, up from merely 1.77 GW at present, making for a particularly formidable purpose. A goal of 60% renewables by 2040 has moreover been set.

NREA figures current that on the end of 2023, there was 1.5 GW of photograph voltaic functionality at Benban and 26 MW at Kom Ombo, with every located near Aswan, plus 50 MW on the Belectric-CCC three-way partnership’s Zafarana endeavor on the Purple Seaside. There was moreover 97 MW of rooftop and 30 MW of standalone photograph voltaic functionality and the remaining 102 MW of photograph voltaic arrays included industrial and industrial (C&I) installations and completely different smaller arrays.

Benban endeavor

Utility-scale PV enchancment has, to this point, clustered round Aswan inside the south of the nation, the place the place photograph voltaic belongings are strongest and there are a great deal of land for enchancment.

An important chunk of Egyptian photograph voltaic functionality is equipped by the Benban endeavor, which lies 50 km from Aswan and is probably going one of many world’s biggest PV web sites. Official figures on its functionality fluctuate from 1.4 GW as a lot as 1.8 GW, with the confusion centering on the scope for development of some explicit individual components.

It is a complicated of 41 separate duties overlaying 37 km², with operators along with Voltalia, Infinity Photograph voltaic, SP Vitality, Acciona Energía, Horus Photograph voltaic Vitality, and Scatec Photograph voltaic. It took an entire $4 billion to develop, a number of of which was equipped by the World Monetary Establishment’s Worldwide Finance Corp. (IFC), the African Development Monetary Establishment (AfDB), and the European Monetary Establishment for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), with most phases achieved in 2018-19.

Feed-in tariffs (FITs) give the operators assured prices for 25 years and are the one private FITs inside the nation, a spokesperson for Voltalia talked about. Sources all through the nation counsel that 6,000 administration and maintenance jobs have been created at Benban, which might current a pool of professional workers and expertise that might be tapped into for future duties.

Voltalia developed its 32 MW RA endeavor at Benban using Suntech 330 W panels, with all the ability generated provided beneath a 25-year power purchase settlement (PPA) with Egyptian Electrical Vitality Transmission Co. (EETC) for $0.084/kWh beneath Egypt’s feed-in tariff program. The incentives are paid for in Egyptian kilos, nonetheless.

Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Vitality expects to complete its 200 MW Kom Ombo plant, merely 20 km from Benban, in April 2024. Just a few of the financing for the $182 million endeavor was equipped by the EBRD, the OPEC Fund for Worldwide Development, and the AfDB.

Completely different installations

In December 2023, ACWA Vitality signed a framework settlement with Egyptian companions to develop a $4 billion inexperienced hydrogen endeavor – more than likely inside the Suez Canal Monetary Zone – with an annual manufacturing functionality of 600,000 tons, from half one, rising to 2 million tons per 12 months. That is set to be powered by PV and wind functionality and ACWA Vitality talked about it already has an Egyptian PV and wind enchancment pipeline of 1.4 GW. The hydrogen plant will join with the grid by way of the similar 220 kV transmission line as Benban, with all power provided beneath a 25-year PPA to the EEHC.

Globeleq and Masdar moreover signed framework agreements in late 2022 to develop inexperienced hydrogen companies inside the Suez Canal Monetary Zone. Empower New Vitality already operates 5 500 kW C&I duties in Egypt for off-takers InterCairo Aluminum, related enterprise InterCairo Extrusion, Cairo Metals, Good Paper, and medical offers agency AMECO. Empower is in the meanwhile preparing three photograph voltaic investments with multinationals working in Egypt

“that are looking out to decarbonize their operations whereas on the identical time securing an aggressive electrical power tariff over time,” talked about Empower Chief Govt Officer Terje Osmundsen. Completely different C&I duties inside the nation embody 467 kW and 374 kW arrays in Sharm El Sheikh, to supply the tourism sector, a 450 kW rooftop endeavor on a Luxor hospital, and a 500 kW rooftop arrange on a Giza industrial plant.

NREA figures current that 700 MW of photograph voltaic functionality is in the meanwhile beneath the constructing: the 5 hundred MW Abydos endeavor and one different 200 MW at Kom Ombo. Dubai’s AMEA Vitality expects to complete Abydos, as soon as extra located near Aswan, by the tip of March 2025, with financing equipped by an IFC-led consortium and a PPA in place with the EETC.

In December 2023, Scatec – which already operates 380 MW at Benban – signed a cooperation settlement with the EEHC for the occasion of a 1 GW photograph voltaic and 200 MWh battery endeavor, which might be the primary utility-scale hybrid endeavor inside the nation. A preliminary financing settlement has already been concluded with the AfDB. The company is now working with the federal authorities on the details of the settlement, in accordance with a Scatec spokesperson.

Challenges keep

Osmundsen talked about that Egypt is a horny PV market nonetheless the nation’s current monetary catastrophe, along with an excessive foreign exchange depreciation, is making abroad funding powerful. The dramatic fall within the price of the Egyptian pound makes the grid tariff paid by electrical power consumers “artificially low and intently sponsored,” he talked about, whereas difficulties altering foreign exchange have held once more funding inside the C&I sector.

Egypt has a great deal of land and extreme photograph voltaic yields, “making renewables extraordinarily aggressive in the direction of completely different sources of vitality,” the Scatec spokesperson talked about. Nevertheless, the precept limiting situation is the extreme worth of financing due to rising world charges of curiosity, they added.

Additionally, although the federal authorities has pledged to take out fossil gasoline subsidies, it continues to encourage the thermal power period. The essential factor to boosting renewable vitality arrange prices is ending power subsidies, a Voltalia spokesperson talked about. Voltalia expects the Egyptian PV market to open up in a short time, nonetheless, because of this, there was power rationing for two hours per day in the midst of the winter, ensuing from an absence of pure gasoline feedstock for thermal power vegetation and an absence of abroad foreign exchange to buy gasoline, the Scatec marketing consultant talked about.

The outlook for the sector is constructive, considerably as 1.7% annual inhabitants progress is driving up electrical power demand. Most renewable vitality functionality will seemingly be equipped by PV and wind, backed up with a restricted amount of battery storage, the Voltalia spokesperson talked about. Concentrated photo voltaic power “is not anticipated to type an enormous share of the long term renewable functionality,” the Scatec spokesperson talked about. In the long run, builders may additionally have the selection to export photo voltaic power from Egypt to European markets by way of deliberate interconnectors between the nation and Crete, after which on to mainland Greece.

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