Egypt announced the opening of the region’s largest wind farm in the Gabal al-Zeit area near the Red Sea. The wind farm is estimated to bring between 150 and 200 megawatts to the Egyptian electricity grid, adding to its total capacity of up to 800 million kilowatt hours per year, according to Mohamed El Sobky, Executive Chairman of the Egyptian New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA).
The new station brings Egypt’s total government-owned wind-energy capacity to 750MW – part of a larger effort by the Egyptian government to increase electricity production through traditional and renewable energy projects. In addition to the 750MW of current capacity, an NREA briefing states that the agency has 340 MW of future wind energy projects “in the pipeline” and 800 MW of projects “in preparation”.
The project began in 2008 but faced delays due to changes in Egypt’s political climate. Funding for the project came from the German development bank KFW, the European Investment Bank and the European Union. The Egyptian government will own the station, which will be operated and maintained by Spanish wind-energy firm Gamesa during the first two years, Sobky told Mada Masr.
Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt, Ambassador James Moran, said in a statement that the project “represents a major renewable energy resource that will help boost Egypt’s economy, create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas pollution… the new wind farm will increase the Egyptian wind installed capacity by 35 %, which will decrease the carbon emissions by 400,000 tons per year.”