Saudi Group Set to Build 10-GW Wind Farm in Egypt

Egypt’s support for renewable energy has received another boost, with ACWA Power and Egyptian officials on July 17 signing an agreement to allocate land for a 10-GW wind power project.

Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power, the world’s largest private water desalination company, on Monday announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the New and Renewable Energy Authority of Egypt (NREA) for the installation.

Officials said the MoU allocates about 3,000 square kilometers, or about 1,160 square miles, of land west of Sohag, an urban center on the west bank of the Nile River, for the project. Monday’s agreement is the next step in the facility’s development after an initial agreement was signed by ACWA Power, the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Co., and the NREA in November 2022.

“Egypt has adopted an ambitious program to advance the electricity sector in various fields, which includes maximizing the utilization of new and renewable energy resources, encouraging investment in these fields to enable energy independence from fossil fuels, continuing to reduce carbon emissions, and increasing renewable energy capacity in the energy mix up to 42% by 2035,” said HE Dr. Mohamed Shaker Al-Marqabi, Egypt’s minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy. “This focus also aligns with Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the National Climate Strategy 2050 with a view to mitigating the impact of climate change challenges and achieving sustainable economic growth.”

Egypt and Saudi Arabia Partnership

Al-Marqabi continued, “This project is also an extension of the historical relations between the Egyptian state and the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and reflects the bonds of fruitful and constructive cooperation between the two countries. We foresee that the positive contributions with financing institutions and development partners, as well as the comparative advantages of Egypt in terms of the availability of land, will show that Egypt has what it takes to produce renewable energy for domestic consumption and export.”

Egypt is ramping up its use of renewable energy to lessen the country’s dependence on natural gas for power generation. Officials on Monday said the wind power plant is expected to save Egypt about $6.5 billion annually that otherwise would be spent on procuring natural gas.

The construction phase of the project is expected to create about 45,000 jobs, officials said, with about 2,500 jobs added for operations and maintenance of the facility after commissioning.

“Today’s signing furthers our commitment to driving sustainable development and powering Egypt’s future with clean, reliable, and renewable energy,” said Marco Arcelli, CEO of ACWA Power. “We are determined to harness the vast potential of wind power, creating jobs, reducing emissions, and ensuring a greener and brighter future for Egypt, in alignment with ACWA Power’s vision for a sustainable planet.”

ACWA Power, which has been developing renewable energy installations as part of its foray into production of green hydrogen, has three other facilities in Egypt that are either in operation, under construction, or in advanced development. Those include a 120-MW solar power installation in Benban, a 200-MW solar facility in Kom Omgo, and the 1.1-GW Suez Wind Energy project.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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