Egypt Advances Solar Energy Projects to Reduce Dependence on Petroleum

Egypt Boost Its Energy Efforts Through Major Solar Projects

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe

Egypt is making significant strides in reducing its reliance on petroleum by initiating two major solar energy projects. These initiatives are set to transform energy production in the country by incorporating sustainable sources. The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources announced the construction of these projects at strategic petroleum locations, signaling a pivotal shift towards green energy.

The first project will be developed at the Assiut Oil Refining Company, located 400 kilometers south of Cairo in Assiut, Upper Egypt. This facility will see the installation of a solar plant with a 10MW capacity, constructed with an investment of approximately EGP 550 million (around $11.2 million). The project is expected to be completed within 11 months and will be carried out by Enppi and Petrojet, which are key operational arms of the Ministry specializing in engineering designs, general contracting, and construction.

A parallel initiative is set to unfold at the General Petroleum Company in Cairo, where a smaller solar facility with a capacity of 5.6MW will be established. This project will cost around EGP 500 million (approximately $10.2 million). Both projects are being funded by a grant from the European Union as part of the ‘Support for Energy Policy Reform’ program, ensuring that these ventures come at no cost to the oil sector.

These solar projects are part of Egypt’s broader strategy to diversify its energy sources. By adopting solar power, Egypt aims to alleviate the load on the national electricity grid, meet increasing domestic and industrial demands, and reduce the consumption of petroleum products. The initiatives are designed not only to supplement the country’s energy needs but also to enhance the efficiency of petroleum operations. The Ministry further explained that these pilot projects in the oil sector aim to generate solar electricity to power production wells using modern technologies. This includes the use of solar cell systems to feed wells during daylight hours and energy storage solutions to ensure a continuous power supply.

Since 2014, Egypt has collaborated with development banks and attracted private investments to bolster its renewable energy sector. Recognized for having one of the highest solar energy potentials globally, Egypt has been actively expanding its solar infrastructure. A notable example is the Benban Solar Park, which covers 37 square kilometers and hosts over 32 solar energy projects with a combined capacity of 1,465MW. This park, launched in 2018, is a critical component of the strategy developed by the Egyptian New and Renewable Energy Authority. The government’s ambitious plan aims to increase the share of renewable energy in Egypt’s electricity mix to 42% by 2035.

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