Egypt connects its biggest wind farm to grid

The Engie, Orascom and Toyota Tsusho Corporation are the developers behind the 262MW wind scheme

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 22, 2016 Electric energy generating wind turbines are seen on a wind farm in the San Gorgonio Pass area on Earth Day near Palm Springs, California.  Wind turbines, designed as an alternative to fossil fuels, still contribute to climate change due to the way they redistribute heat and moisture in the atmosphere, according to a study published October 4, 2018.Researchers from Harvard University found that powering the entire United States with wind energy would cause a 0.54 degree Celsius ground temperature rise in the area where the turbines were located, and a 0.24C increase across the continental United States.
 / AFP / David McNew
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Egypt's largest wind farm has been connected to the grid ahead of schedule, as the Arab world's most populous state looks to add more renewables to its energy mix.

The 262.5 megawatt Ras Ghareb wind energy project was completed 45 days ahead of schedule, with the 125-turbine wind farm connected to the grid and ready to operate last Thursday, 31 October.

The wind scheme — the largest in Egypt — was executed by a consortium of Orascom Construction (OC), Engie and Toyota Tsusho Corporation. It was developed via a build-own-operate scheme, with the power generated being sold to the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company under a 20-year agreement.

Orascom, which executed the engineering, procurement and construction phases of the scheme, has a 20 per cent stake in the project.

Egypt is faced with rapidly-growing demand for both industrial and residential power use. The country meets more than half of its power needs from gas at 53 per cent, with oil accounting for 43 per cent of requirements. The government is prioritising adding renewables to the mix, with plans to raise capacity from clean sources to 20 per cent by 2020.

"This project highlights our construction and financing capabilities along with the successful collaboration with our international partners, financial institutions and the client," Orascom chief executive Osama Bishai said in a statement.

"We remain focused on expanding our portfolio of recurring income projects," he added.

Last week, Riyadh-based Acwa Power signed a power purchase agreement with the Egyptian government to operate a 200MW solar photovoltaic plant in the country.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Saudi company will develop, finance, construct and operate the Kom Ombo plant.