As world leaders gather in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for the UN Climate Change Conference – better known as COP27 – Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s flagship renewable energy company, is demonstrating how Egypt and other African nations can drive decarbonization efforts.
“The African continent has some of the greatest potential from a renewable energy resources perspective and it is one of the most under-served areas in the world with regards to electricity access,” says Ahmed Mulla, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Infinity Power, a joint venture between Masdar and Egypt’s Infinity. “Recognizing this and bringing the skillset, experience and knowledge from Masdar and Infinity, Infinity Power was created as a platform to serve the continent to provide affordable, sustainable electricity to the communities that do not have access to the electricity grid.”
Infinity Power – which is a Principal Partner for COP27 – was established in 2020 to develop utility-scale and distributed solar energy and wind power projects in Egypt and Africa. Masdar is also partnering with Infinity on the “Infinity 50” solar 64.1 megawatt-peak (MWp) photovoltaic (PV) plant. This is part of the Benban solar park – the largest such facility in Africa.
Egypt is targeting renewables comprising 42 percent of its energy mix by 2035, with solar providing 25 percent. Egypt is also interested in developing a green hydrogen industry, capitalizing on this promising new clean source of energy that is expected to play a key role in decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors.
In April, Masdar and Egypt’s Hassan Allam Utilities agreed to cooperate on the development of green hydrogen production plants in the Suez Canal Economic Zone and on the Mediterranean coast. The agreement will see Masdar and Hassan Allam Utilities set up a strategic platform to develop green hydrogen production plants in Egypt. The project seeks to have electrolyzer capacity of 4 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, and output of up to 480,000 tons of green hydrogen per year.
Like much of the African continent, Egypt enjoys abundant solar and wind resources that allow for the generation of renewable power at a highly competitive cost – a key enabler for green hydrogen production. As a Northern African country, Egypt is also relatively close to the European markets where demand for green hydrogen is expected to grow the most, providing robust opportunity for export. Driven by green hydrogen’s export potential, its ability to attract large-scale foreign direct investment and the Egyptian government’s renewable energy targets, the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity is currently working to revise its renewable energy strategy to include green hydrogen.
With reports estimating Africa’s solar PV technical potential at 7,900 GW, alongside potentials of 1,753 GW from hydropower and 461 GW from wind power, the wider continent possesses a largely untapped source of energy and growth. Masdar, as a trailblazer in North African clean energy projects, is looking forward to new collaborations and agreements to renewable energy development in Africa.