Market Status: Northern Africa and Middle East - Political turmoil and long-term goals dominate

MIDDLE EAST: North Africa and the Middle East look set to continue their steady progress in 2011, with many of the region's governments supporting ever higher renewable energy targets and introducing incentives for wind power generation.


Egypt remains the leader of the pack, with the addition of 120MW of installed wind capacity last year, bringing the country's total to 550MW.

While no new wind farms are scheduled to come online in 2011, the year should see plenty of activity as Egypt pursues its ambitious plan to satisfy 12% of electricity demand from wind energy by 2020, equivalent to at least 7.2GW of installed capacity. However, the dramatic resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in mid-February will see a new government in charge of energy policy.

The pressure is on Egypt to build low-carbon generation capacity after the government was forced to ration electricity in 2010 and the World Bank reported that Egypt is one of the countries with the world's fastest-growing greenhouse gas emissions. Wind power will play a key role: the country's hydroelectric potential is saturated and solar generation is too expensive, the government says.

The sole new wind power plant commissioned last year was a 120MW facility at Zafarana. Next in line is likely to be a 200MW facility on the Gulf of El-Zayt, on the Red Sea coast. Overseas funding is plentiful, with support coming from Japan, Spain, Germany and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

A draft law aimed at liberalising the energy market is slowly working its way through the Egyptian parliament and could be ratified this year. Meanwhile, the cabinet has approved a number of measures to speed up progress, including allowing third-party access to the grid and long-term power-purchase agreements of 20-25 years, guaranteed by Egypt's Central Bank.

The New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), a division of Egypt's energy ministry, will carry out the environmental impact assessment and obtain the necessary land permits. Generation equipment will be exempt from customs duties and wind plant owners will be able to earn extra revenue from the sale of carbon emissions certificates.

The government has also embarked on a series of tenders for up to 2.5GW, to be undertaken by private developers on a build-own-operate basis. Ten candidates qualified for the second round and winners are expected this summer. Two further tenders for 500MW each will be carried out in 2011.

The initiative is supported by the World Bank, which last year agreed a $220 million loan aimed at scaling up wind power in Egypt. The EIB is providing a $260 million loan to strengthen and expand grid connections to the Red Sea coast.

Italian cement producer Italcementi is making progress on a 120MW project it is developing on the Gulf of El-Zayt to be operational by 2014. Finally, NREA is developing a 200MW project on the Gulf of Suez in association with Masdar, the Abu Dhabi-owned renewable energy investment vehicle.

In terms of manufacturing, Egyptian cable and electrical manufacturer Elsewedy Electric is going ahead with plans to become a fully integrated wind farm supplier. The company can produce up to 300 towers a year from its factory near the Red Sea port of Ain Sokhna, as well as 300 sets of blades, in partnership with Germany's Schaaf Industries Corporation.


The region's second largest wind powerhouse, Morocco, added just 33MW of new wind energy in 2010, bringing its total capacity to 287MW (see table, page 94). June saw the launch of an integrated wind energy programme, detailing how the country will meet its future energy needs while reducing fuel imports - which account for almost 10% of GDP. The programme confirms the national target of 42% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020, with wind expected to reach 2GW by that date.

The modest capacity added last year marked the final phase of a 140MW plant near Tangier, which is now the largest in Africa. Gamesa built and equipped the facility for state utility Office National d'Electricite (ONE).

The integrated wind energy programme identifies five sites with a combined capacity of 1GW: Boujdour (100MW), Koudia El Baida II (300MW), Tangier II (150MW), Taza (150MW) and Tiskrad (300MW), scheduled to come online between 2014 and 2020. The projects will be developed as public-private partnerships between one or more industrial partners and ONE, state-owned Energy Investment Company - set up to invest in renewable energies - and the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development.

Some progress has also been made on a 300MW project at Tarfaya. Last year, ONE finally started negotiations regarding the first - 200MW - phase with Nareva, a subsidiary of the Moroccan industrial, financial and services conglomerate ONA, and the UK's International Power following a tender process that began in 2007. If all goes well, the pair will be awarded the concession on a build, operate and transfer basis under a 20-year power-purchase agreement with ONE, for completion in 2013.

The integrated wind power programme foresees an additional 420MW being built by the private sector (see table, above). Nareva is developing a majority of these projects, having signed memorandums of understanding with a number of industrial giants such as cement producer Lafarge Maroc; Morocco's leading steel producer, Sonasid; and the OCP Group, the world's largest exporter of phosphates.

This spring Nareva will start building a 100MW facility at Akhfenir on the Atlantic coast, which is due to start turning by the end of 2012, with a second 100MW phase to follow in 2013.

The only project likely to be completed this year is 5MW under construction near Laayoune by Italgen, the power generation unit of Italian cement manufacturer Italcementi. Gamesa is supplying the turbines.


Tunisia experienced its second year running with no new wind power capacity added to its 54MW total. The country raised its renewable energy targets sharply from 4% of electricity consumption by 2012 to 16% in 2016 and 40% in 2030 as part of the Tunisian "solar plan". However, political uncertainty dominates the country after the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January.

The plan focuses on Tunisia's considerable solar energy potential but also foresees installed wind power capacity growing to 505MW by 2016 and 2.7GW by 2030. This equates to an extra 132MW of new capacity each year to hit the 2030 target.

The first part of the strategy has already been mapped out, with projects totalling 350MW of installed wind capacity already in the pipeline. The first of these is under construction - a 120MW project split between Metline (61MW) and Kchabta (59MW) in the Bizerte region near the northern coast.

The Spanish government is providing finance at a reduced rate, while Spanish equipment supplier Made Tecnologias Renovables, a subsidiary of Gamesa, is providing the 1.3MW turbines. The Tunisian electricity and gas company Steg is responsible for the towers and the civil and engineering works. The facility will later be extended by a further 70MW.

The first 60MW has now been put back from this year to 2014, partly because further revision of the regulatory framework is required. When this is clarified, a tender process will be initiated.

An additional 100MW of wind energy is available to independent power producers as part of the Elmed project. This initiative between Tunisia and Italy includes 1.2GW of new generation capacity to be built near the northern town of El Haouaria, composed of a conventional power station and at least 100MW of renewables. Eleven companies and consortia responded to a prequalification tender call in July. The Tunisian industry and technology ministry is now drawing up a shortlist of qualified bidders and is expected to launch the second round before the summer, with completion scheduled for 2017.

Elmed includes an undersea interconnector linking the Tunisian and Italian grids via Sicily. This will be built and operated as a joint venture between STEG and Italian transmission operator Terna. The two-way link will also allow the exchange of reserve electricity, giving greater stability to the Tunisian system as more non-dispatchable renewable resources come online. The interconnector should be in operation by 2017.

Other network links are also proposed, including a 400kV connection with Algeria, with European Investment Bank support of EUR185 million.


Israel saw no increase in its 6MW installed wind capacity in 2010. The country's public utility authority rolled out a proposal for a 20-year adjustable feed-in tariff for wind energy, which would see wind farms receive up to $0.151/kWh (EUR0.117/kWh).

Israel also designated the first - 155MW - phase of a national infrastructure project in the Golan Heights placing it on a fast track for authorisation. The Mei Golan-AES project could eventually be built up to 380MW. Work on financing should start at the end of 2011. Mei Golan also owns Israel's existing 6MW facility in the Golan Heights, which should be repowered to 14MW this year.

Israel's other mature wind projects are being developed by Afcon EB Wind Energy, which has two advanced projects with combined capacity of 22MW.


Jordan's first commercial wind project came on track in August after the government resumed negotiations with the preferred bidder, a Greek-Jordanian consortium led by Athens-based Terna Energy. The 30-40MW Al Kamshah plant was due online in 2010, but negotiations stalled over the electricity price. There were also problems with noise levels and land regulations. In July, the ministry issued a request for proposals for the right to build, own and operate a 70-90MW facility near Al Fujeij, south of the capital, Amman.


Libya is about to join the wind power club with the construction of a 61.75MW pilot facility at Al Fetaih, near Dernah on the north-east coast. State utility, the Public Electricity Works Company, awarded the EUR84 million contract to Egypt's Elsewedy Wind Energy Generation in partnership with its Spanish subsidiary, M Torres Olvega Industrial.

Planned wind projects in South Africa in 2011 and beyond

Developer Capacity Cost Location
MW dollars m
Electriwinds 45 178 Coega
Suzlon Energy 800 NA TBC
China Longyuan Group TBC 450 TBC
G7 Renewable Energy TBC NA Lamberts Bay,
Klawer, Richters
Veld, Roggeveld
Eskom 100 140 Koekenaap

Current wind power capacity
Location Owner Turbines MW
Tangier ONE Gamesa 140.0
Amogdoul ONE Gamesa 60.0
Koudia Al Badia Theolia Vestas 50.4
Tetouan Lafarge Gamesa 32.2
Koudia Al Badia ONE Enercon 3.5
Total 286.1

Private-sector projects
Project MW Developer Completes1
Akhfenir 200 Nareva 20132
Foum El Oued 50 Nareva 2012
Haouma 50 Nareva 2012
Jbel Khalladi 120 UPC N/A
Total 420
1 estimated 2 100MW in 2012

Israel's wind targets
Year MW TWh
2014 250 0.61
2016 400 0.98
2018 600 1.47
2020 800 1.96
Source: Israel's National Infrastructure Ministry

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