An ambitious collaboration between Egypt and renewables giant Masdar may be coming back to life following a two year hibernation. Is this a bona fide resurrection of a visionary joint venture or just a soundbite to broadcast the commercial ambitions of Masdar?
As part of a long-term strategy to advance alternative energy, Masdar had sought investment opportunities in the Egyptian windfarm industry, and in February 2010, they finalized plans to build a 200-megawatt wind farm on the Red Sea coastline. The Abu Dhabi-based company specializes in renewable energy, clean technology, and sustainable development.
Egypt’s renewables target was announced in 2008 with a goal of sourcing 20% of its electricity from fossil-fuel alternatives by 2020. That includes a 12% target for wind energy, equivalent to 7.2 gigawatts. Egypt has exceptional potential for wind and solar energy generation due to strong and consistent wind patterns, particularly on the coast of the Red Sea.
Egypt is seeking to attract $110 billion in investments in its energy sector by 2027. The country has operating wind farms with an installed capacity of 430 megawatts at Zafarana and Hurghada on its Red Sea coastline, one of the windiest sites in the Middle East.
Regional instability and economic woes put the 2010 framework between Masdar and the Egyptian New And Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) on ice. Now Al Arabiya Satellite Channel has reported that Masdar is again seeking to invest in the project with an estimated $600 million. The project will be the first collaborative venture between Egypt and the UAE in the field of renewable energy.
“The company is focusing currently on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region for investments in solar and wind energy,” Masdar said in a press release. Sultan Al Jaber, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, had earlier told Gulf News that the company is seeking investments everywhere in the world.
Sit back and see what the wind blows in.
Image of offshore wind farm from Shutterstock