Egypt is a land of ancient mysteries. It is a desert country with one long river flowing through it. Desert means lots of sun. Egypt is preparing to build a billion dollar solar power plant with help from a suite of international donors. Construction of Kuryamatt, a 150-megawatt hybrid power plant that will use both solar energy and natural gas to generate electricity, is underway 90 kilometers south of Cairo. Plans for a second large solar plant, in Upper Egypt’s Kom Ombo, are also underway. These moves come after severe power cuts crippled the country last year during the hot summer months when Egyptians blast their air-conditioning units, and power up their stoves to prepare Ramadan feasts.
In part this is necessary given that the project, which is expected to cost approximately 5.5 billion Egyptian pounds, will be funded by international aid and development organizations that demand transparency to ensure that new development projects are as environmentally and socially sound as possible.
Among the groups supporting the project are Clean Energy Fund, The World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Agence Francaise de Developpement, and the German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, Minister of Energy Ahmed Imam said in a statement last week.
The project is necessary because the country suffers from severe power shortages. It is a land that is 94% desert. Kom Ombo is an agricultural town in Egypt famous for the Temple of Kom Ombo. It was originally an Egyptian city called Nubt, meaning City of Gold (not to be confused with the city north of Naqada that was also called Nubt/Ombos).
The Egyptian government is preparing for the establishment of a solar power plant at Kom Ombo region in Aswan within the framework of a strategy designed to diversify energy sources as an implementation of the ministry’s plan, which provides for expanding the use of solar energy.
The Ministry of Electricity and Energy report stated that the plant will produce 100MW, yet financial sources are currently considered as the project is expected to be financed by African Development Fund and UN’s Clean Development Mechanism.
The plant capacity will be added to the national grid to meet the development process and the electrical loads evolution. Moreover, the establishment of this plan reflects Egypt seeking to keep abreast of developments in the use of natural energy sources and give serious consideration to the use of solar energy.
Article by Andy Soos, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.