Wind Wire: Another completed

Egypt's operating wind power capacity now tops 400 MW, following the completion of a 120.7 MW project at Zafarana on the Gulf of Suez.

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Spanish firm Gamesa built the project, comprising 850 kW turbines, under a turnkey contract. The project is the fifth wind farm at Zafarana and represents the latest stage of a development managed by the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), a division of Egypt's energy ministry. Total wind capacity at Zafarana now stands at 426 MW, while another 120.7 MW is due on line next year. Egypt's only other grid-connected wind project is a 5 MW test facility at Hurghada, although a number of big projects are under development at Gabal El-Zeit, to the south of Zafarana. The government is also allocating more land for wind projects, with a view to having 7.2 GW of capacity installed by 2020, part of its strategy to meet its target for 20% of electricity to come from renewables by then. Some 1300 square kilometres of state-owned land on the Gulf of Suez to the south of Zafarana is now earmarked, as is a further 6300 square kilometres in the governates of Beni Suef, El Minya and Assiut in the upper Nile Valley, which could accommodate up to 30 GW. In both cases, the land is being allocated free of charge to the NREA, which is now conducting feasibility studies. While some of the land will be used for government-funded projects, the majority will be leased to private investors. These will be selected via a series of requests for tenders. The government issued its first call for 250 MW on the Gulf of Suez this summer (Windpower Monthly, July 2009).

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