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Italy

Italian cement producer Italgen considers wind farm on Red Sea coast

Italgen, a subsidiary of Italian cement producer Italcementi Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Egypt's Ministry for Energy and Electricity to assess the possibility of developing a major wind farm in Gabal El Zeit on the Red Sea coast. A feasibility study into the project -- initially planned to be at least 120 MW, but hoped to rise to as much as 400 MW -- is scheduled for completion later this year, says Italcementi. The agreement is part of an energy plan issued by the Egyptian government to support foreign investments in renewables development. By end 2006, just 230 MW of wind capacity was operating in Egypt. Italcementi says partners for the project, both local and international, may be sought at a later stage. Until now Italgen has mainly produced hydro power for the Italcementi Group in Italy, but it has recently become active in Morocco too, where its Ciments du Maroc unit has signed an agreement with the country's electricity agency for the construction of a 10 MW wind plant. Energy from the plant, which could eventually be expanded to 50 MW, will be used to power Italgen's industrial operations in Morocco. Aside from Egypt and Morocco, Italcementi's Francesco Galimberti says the group is also interested in wind projects elsewhere in the Mediterranean Basin, including the company's home country of Italy.

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