Despite Israel’s innovative green tech sector, and Abu Dhabi’s green building commitment at Masdar, the highest-ranking nation in the Middle East for renewable investment potential turns out to be Egypt, according to new rankings from Ernst & Young.
Egypt beat out the other MENA countries in renewable investment attractiveness, to claim the number 22 spot, right above Mexico. Its good renewable energy policy is the reason for the high ranking, along with having started it early: in the 1980s.
Egypt set up the New & Renewable Energy Authority in 1986, accompanied it with the establishment of testing & certification laboratories and personnel training, and has set a series of renewable energy milestones. To date, it is on course to meet its cumulative targets, although not without some upsets along the way.
Egypt requires 20% of renewable energy on the grid by 2020, and it has excellent resources for both solar and wind power generation.
Its solar insolation is better than that of Spain and Greece, with 9 to 11 sunshine hours daily on mostly clear days, but till now, solar energy has been mainly used for water heating, industrial process heat applications and agricultural drying. But it is steadily adding 100 MW solar and wind projects.
Of the 20% renewable energy Egypt expects to get on the grid by 2020, 12% is to come from wind. By 2020 it is expected that wind will contribute 7,200 MW, with 550 MW to be added per year to reach that goal.
A 140MW wind farm has already been installed in El Zaafarana1 and El Zaafarana2, and Germany is working with Egypt to develop new wind farms. The Suez region, where winds average 7-10 m/s is the region under consideration, and because Egypt also needs to receive revenue from tourism in the Suez region, the wind farms are to be placed off-shore.
To fund its ambitious goals, Egypt has been one of the first countries worldwide to tap into the $5.2bn Clean Technology Fund that is managed by the World Bank.
Congratulations to Egypt!
Image: Nicolas Auger
More on Egypt’s renewable progress:
Egypt Government to Invest in Wind
Egypt Nears Completion of Solar Thermal Plant
Egyptian Energy Crisis Sends Protesters into the Streets