Northern Africa and Middle East - Troubled region paves the way for more development

NOERTHERN AFRICA/MIDDLE EAST: Despite continued unrest in some parts of the region, there was a surprising amount of progress in 2012.

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Few megawatts were installed, but work resumed in several countries on projects due for commissioning in 2013. Other countries, notably Israel and Jordan, made moves to kickstart deployment.


The Egyptian government remains committed to wind power, despite the political turmoil and serious economic problems. It is still targeting 7.2GW in 2020, as it seeks to diversify away from natural gas, and has taken the first steps towards phasing out fossil-fuel subsidies. Installed capacity remains at 550MW, although construction started last year on a 200MW plant being built by Gamesa in the Gulf of El-Zayt with European assistance. Commissioning is scheduled for 2014. In the same area, the government's New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) launched a prequalification process to build a 220MW plant, this time with Japanese funding, and should soon launch a tender for 120MW backed by Spain.

Egypt is increasingly seeking to mobilise private-sector investors to drive growth. Last year, NREA finalised land-use and power purchase agreements and secured financial guarantees for a 250MW project offered on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis near the Gulf of Suez. The tender is expected this spring. The government also decided to cut the capacity to be tendered for other BOO projects from 1GW to 500MW, and will instead auction the land concessions. These will be awarded to the highest bidders above a minimum of 2% of the annual output. In December, NREA put six blocks up for auction, each with a capacity of up to 100MW, in the Gulf of Suez; the closing date was 24 February. Investors can use the energy themselves or sell to third parties. A tender for the 500MW is expected towards the end of the year.

Italgen, the energy generation arm of Italian cement giant Italcementi has at long last signed a land-use agreement for its 120MW private-sector project in the Gulf of El-Zayt and is now seeking funding. Component manufacturer Elsewedy Electric's plans for a turbine assembly plant are still on hold, however, pending signs of market improvement and increased political stability.


While Morocco has escaped serious political turmoil, the country failed to add any new capacity in 2012, resting at 292MW. However, work started in February on the much-delayed Tarfaya project, a 300MW facility being built in 50MW phases on a build, operate and transfer basis by Moroccan conglomerate Nareva in partnership with French utility GDF Suez.

In April, state utility ONE selected a consortium of EDF Energies Nouvelles, Mitsui and Alstom as preferred bidder for 150MW at Taza in a public-private partnership. While the final terms are still under negotiation, KfW has agreed to lend ONE EUR 50 million to help finance the project. Six candidates have been shortlisted to tender for five projects totalling 850MW under another public-private initiative, the integrated wind power programme.

Nareva has three other plants under construction. Akhfenir (101MW), using Alstom turbines, is expected to come online this year, but there is a question mark over Haouma (50.6MW) and Foum el Oued (50.6MW), both with Siemens turbines. Construction should also start this year on a 10MW plant owned by Ciments de Maroc at its Safi cement works.


In theory, Tunisia added 101MW last year to give a total of 155MW. However, a series of arson attacks means that the new turbines, installed near Bizerte, have been taken offline, pending a decision on how to secure the facility. In the meantime, Gamesa is installing the remaining turbines at the 189MW project.

The government is still working on the regulatory framework governing private-sector initiatives. The latest estimate for publication is mid-2013. Likewise, the Elmed project, including 100MW of wind energy and an interconnection to Italy, is pretty much on hold due to uncertainty over the political situation.


There is better news from Israel, where the long-awaited national zoning regulations should shortly be issued for public consultation. The regulations define the permitting process and should remove many of the bureaucratic obstacles currently besetting the industry. The government also invited proposals for wind-power projects and is now evaluating the submissions.

At the same time, the repowering of Israel's only installation, a 6MW facility on the Golan Heights, has been given the go-ahead. Owner Green Wind Energy hopes to start construction in April and commission the new 15MW facility by year-end. Goldwind is tipped to supply the turbines. The state utility has also issued production licences for two projects totalling 17MW owned by Afcon EB Wind Energy and using Gamesa turbines. Afcon hopes to reach financial close in April and start construction soon after.


Jordan is also breathing new life into its wind market, aiming for 1.2GW in 2020, from 2MW now. This spring, the government expects to announce the winner of the stalled tender to build, own and operate (BOO) an 80-90MW plant at Al-Fujeij. It also launched a prequalification process to build, operate and maintain a 65-75MW project near Maan, to be part-financed with a grant of $300 million from the Gulf Cooperation Council. The government expects to launch the tender in the summer and announce the winner before year end.

As part of a policy to attract private investment, the government has also signed memoranda of understanding with 30 developers seeking to construct around 560MW of wind and solar projects on a BOO basis. Selected projects will be eligible to receive a feed-in tariff of JOD 0.085/kWh ($0.12/kWh).

Algeria and Libya

The Algerian government reiterated its ambition to generate up to 40% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, including 2GW of wind power last year. The country was due to complete its first 10MW pilot project this summer at Adrar, using Gamesa turbines, owned by state utility Sonelgaz. In the light of January's hostage crisis at a gas plant, this looks increasingly unlikely as foreign companies will be nervous about employee safety.

In Libya, work has resumed on a 62MW facility near Dernah being built by Egypt's SWEG in partnership with its Spanish subsidiary M Torres Olvega Industrial (MTOI). The first turbines could start turning by the end of the year, with full operation slated for mid-2014.

MEA capacity pie

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