Neoen signs deal to develop wind in Egypt

EGYPT: Independent French renewable energy producer Neoen and TAQA Arabia, Egypt's largest private-sector energy distribution company, have signed an agreement to jointly develop wind and solar projects in Egypt.

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The two companies, which are already cooperating in a joint bid for up to 200MW of photovoltaic power being tendered at Kom Ombo, Egypt will form a consortium to explore possibilities in Egypt and the wider region.

"We are looking to gain more experience in the field of renewable energy, a sector that will actively contribute to eradicating the power cuts that Egypt has experienced in recent years," said Pakinam Kafafy, managing director of TAQA Arabia, which is active in the Middle East and North Africa.

Neoen, which recently opened an office in Cairo, aims to have an operating renewables portfolio of 1GW in 2016 and is targeting markets "with a strong potential" outside Europe. It also has offices in Lisbon, Mexico and Sydney.

Egyptian potential

Wind power development was among the many casualties of the 2011 Arab Spring, although Egypt, the region's biggest market, has sprung back with requests for offers to add 850MW to its existing 550MW of online wind capacity.

In March 2013, Egypt's state-run New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) resumed an international contest for wind prospecting concessions at six sites in the Gabal El Zeit area of the Gulf of Suez, each earmarked for up to 100MW of development.

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