By Andy Sambidge
Abu Dhabi firm signs memorandum of understanding to support growth of Egypt's power generation
Abu Dhabi-based clean energy firm Masdar has signed a memorandum of understanding to support the growth of Egypt's power generation, with a solar plant likely to be its first project.
The non-binding agreement has been signed by Masdar, Saudi-based ACWA Power and the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC), a statement said.
According to the MoU, the partners will evaluate 2 GW of renewable energy projects, including 1.5GW of solar and 500 megawatts of wind.
The first project that will be considered is a 200MW solar photovoltaic plant.
Dr Mohamed Shaker El-Markabi, Egypt’s Minister of Electricity And Energy, said: "Egypt is committed to meeting our rising energy needs and encouraging economic growth by developing new power generation in our country.
"We appreciate the partnership of companies, such as Masdar, ACWA Power and EEHC, which will explore the development of new renewable energy and natural gas facilities to provide electricity for Egyptian homes and businesses."
Dr Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of Masdar, added: "Egypt has one of the fastest growing populations in the Middle East and requires additional electricity to power its economic expansion.
"As a regional and global leader in delivering large-scale renewable energy projects, Masdar is eager to move forward with our partners to explore sustainable, economic options to improve Egypt’s energy security."
The framework agreement also calls for development of 2.2GW of combined-cycle natural gas generation led by ACWA Power.
Paddy Padmanathan, ACWA Power president and CEO, said: "Egypt is a very important market for us. The Egyptian government efforts in keeping pace with the increasing demand of power and energy to meet the expectations of its developing economy, is a key driver in looking into efficient energy solutions.
"Through this MoU, the partnership will look into potential opportunities of generating power more efficiently, utilizing a broader mix of fuel resources and renewable energy sources, hence providing cutting edge technologies and a more cost competitive approach."
At the end of 2013, Egypt had 31GW of total installed generating capacity, dominated by natural gas and oil. It had 552MW of wind and 20MW of solar generating capacity. The renewable component, including hydro, is projected to increase to 20 percent by 2020.