Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power secures land in Egypt for one of region's largest wind farms

The project will be built on about 3,000 square kilometres of land west of the city of Sohag

Egypt's largest wind farm in Zafarana produces 545MW. Victoria Hazou / The National
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Saudi Arabia's energy company Acwa Power signed a preliminary agreement with Egypt's New and Renewable Energy Authority on Monday to allocate land for a 10-gigawatt wind project in the North African country.

The agreement comes after the Riyadh-listed utility signed an initial pact in November last year to build the project, expected to be one of the largest wind farms in the region.

The value of the project was not disclosed.

The project will be built on about 3,000 square kilometres of land west of Sohag, an Egyptian city located on the west bank of the Nile, Acwa Power said in a statement on Monday.

The wind project is expected to generate about 50,000 gigawatt-hours of clean energy annually, providing electricity to about 11 million households and mitigating the impact of 25.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

“Today's signing furthers our commitment to driving sustainable development and powering Egypt's future with clean, reliable and renewable energy,” said Marco Arcelli, chief executive 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.”

The move comes as Egypt aims to increase its renewable energy capacity in the energy mix to 42 per cent by 2035, up from about 11 per cent in 2019.

Currently, Egypt's largest wind farm, which produces 545 megawatts, is in Zafarana, in Egypt's Ras Ghareb area.

The world's largest wind project is the Gansu project in China, which has a planned capacity of 20 gigawatts.

The new 10-gigawatt wind power plant is projected to help the Egyptian economy save $6.5 billion in annual natural gas costs, in addition to creating up to 120,000 job opportunities, Acwa Power said.

The company has three other facilities in Egypt that are either in operation, under construction or in advanced development, including a 120MW solar PV project in Benban, a 200MW solar PV facility in Kom Ombo and the 1.1-gigawatt Suez Wind Energy project.

“Egypt has adopted an ambitious programme to advance the electricity sector in various fields, which includes maximising the utilisation 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 per cent by 2035,” said Mohamed Shaker Al Marqabi, Egypt's Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy.

Acwa Power operates in 12 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Central and South-East Asia. The company's portfolio comprises 77 projects in operation, advanced development or construction with an investment value of $78.2 billion and the capacity to generate 50.4 gigawatts of power and manage 6.8 million cubic metres of desalinated water per day.

It aims to increase its power-generating capacity to 120 gigawatts from 43 gigawatts over the next decade.

Updated: July 17, 2023, 3:36 PM