Spain's Gamesa Eólica starts 85 MW Zafarana extension

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Spain's Gamesa Eólica has begun installing an additional 85 MW of wind power at the Zafarana wind power station on Egypt's Red Sea coast under a joint Spanish-Egyptian financial protocol. The Spanish government is financing the project, while Egypt's New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), a division of the energy ministry, will contribute the civil works. NREA will also own and operate the plant. Gamesa won the EUR 85 million turnkey contract for 100, 850 kW turbines in 2004. Fourteen units are now undergoing testing, while the remaining 86 should be ready for commissioning in October, bringing the combined wind capacity at Zafarana, a desert location 200 kilometres south of Cairo, to 225 MW. The previous phases, built in the first years of this decade, comprise 77 MW of Vestas turbines supported by Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), Germany's development bank, and 63 MW of Nordex turbines supported by the Danish aid agency Danida and KfW. The only other grid-connected turbines in Egypt at present are a 5 MW pilot project from the 1990s at Hurghada, also on the Red Sea coast, using long extinct Danish technology. The government has big plans for the future, however, aiming at 850 MW installed capacity by 2010, also with the help of donor countries. Next in line is a 120 MW extension to Zafarana in co-operation with the Japanese government. Following a tender call, NREA expects to sign contracts in July, with completion slated for mid 2008. A feasibility study will be carried out later this year for an 80 MW project financed by KfW at Gabal El-Zeit on the Gulf of Suez. All being well, the plant should come online in 2009.

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