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Germany's overseas development bank (KfW) is ready with DEM 65 million to financially support a 20 MW wind project at Zafarana on the Red Sea coast, some 130 kilometres south of Suez. The financing contract should finally be signed with the Egyptian government within the next few months after considerable delay. KfW is now trying to make up for lost time by going ahead with selection of a German consulting company for the planning.

As well as the wind station, the project includes a new transformer station to be built at Zafarana and the expansion of an existing transformer station on the route of a 40 kilometre cable to Suez, now being built. The wind plant operators will be the Egyptian Electricity Authority (EEA) and the New and Renewable Energy Authority, both divisions of the Ministry for Electricity and Energy.

While the EEA is responsible for financing and building the cable link -- which will also carry power from a separate 60 MW Danida wind station (see main story) -- the two transformer stations are included in the support provided by the KfW. As the Danish project will also need the yet-to-be-built transformer station at Zafarana, there is some pressure on Germany to get its contracts with the Egyptian government completed.

The KfW sees the Egyptian wind farm as a "fuel saver operation with a positive ecological effect." Egypt is believed to be seriously interested in the development of wind power, but its wish to decide the exact percentage of Egyptian content of wind turbines is encountering resistance at the KfW. While the bank is also keen to see local manufacture, it prefers a flexible approach and does not wish to be dictated to.

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