Middle East and African renewables investment boom predicted

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Investment in renewable energy in the Middle East and Africa is expected to increase rapidly, delegates at the Middle East Electricity 2003 conference and exhibition were told. Driven by booming populations and industrial development, alternative power use in the Middle East and Africa is expected to double to 2.4 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) by 2020, according to the US government's Energy Information Administration. Wind projects are already underway. In Turkey, a 350 MW development is planned with the first phase consisting of a 30 MW wind farm west of Istanbul and two projects near Ismir with a combined capacity of 90 MW. Morocco is intending to invest $3.7 billion in energy projects this year -- a significant portion will go to wind, including the construction of wind plant at Tangiers and Tarfaya. Egypt, too, is constructing a 60 MW wind project in the Suez Canal area, while in Jordan plans have been revealed for three wind farms, each of 25-30 MW, to be constructed on a build, own and operate basis. One company hoping to win a share of the Middle East and African renewable energy markets is Vestas Danish Wind Technology. The company recently signed a $25 million wind turbine component and technology transfer contract with Iran. "Environmental matters and a shortage of electricity is driving interest in wind energy, particularly in Iran and Jordan," the company's Dan Lund told delegates.

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