Egypt Energy Leadership Conference confirms rapid energy transition
Egyptian officials says country taking big steps in energy transformation agenda, with government enhancing electricity target and allocating large land area for NREA projects; green initiative attracts projects from all Egyptian governorates
Egypt Energy Leadership Conference 2023, at Egypt International Exhibition Centre (EIEC) in Cairo last week, had more than 55 experts engaged in presentations, chats, and panel discussions across three days.
Day one saw senior stakeholders delve deeply into the issue of accelerating the energy transition process in Egypt and North African countries through expanding smart solutions, solar energy, and green hydrogen.
Egyptian officials confirmed that the country is taking rapid steps in the energy transformation agenda, especially after updating the country’s renewable energy strategy by moving the target year for 42 percent renewable energy to 2030 from 2035.
Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Mohina, Head Sector of Strategic Planning, Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, delivered the keynote address, summarizing the latest efforts of the Ministry in renewable energy projects.
He confirmed that total installed capacity in Egypt has reached approximately 59,000 MW from multiple sources including gas, renewables, hydroelectric, green hydrogen, electric cars, and energy storage.
“Egypt is a large and promising market in the renewable energy sector, and energy in general, in the region,” he said.
He pointed out that Egypt is looking forward to playing an important role on the global map in the energy sector, highlighting the government's decision last June to update the country’s energy strategy with the more ambitious year-2030 goal.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Hisham Badr, Assistant Minister for Strategic Partnerships, Excellence and Initiatives, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, reviewed the most important achievements of the National Initiative for Smart Green Projects.
“It is an unprecedented initiative globally that opened the door for 110 million Egyptian citizens in all Egyptian governorates to submit projects to produce renewable energy.”
He emphasized that the idea of the initiative is based on transforming the climate challenge crisis into an investment opportunity.
“Indeed, the initiative succeeded in attracting 6,300 projects from all Egyptian governorates, and 18 projects were selected, and they were awarded financial prizes and networked with the United Nations to raise their capabilities and connect them to funding agencies,” he said.
Investing in energy efficiency
A panel discussion followed, entitled “Progress on Egypt’s Energy Transition,” highlighting policies and initiatives of the government to advance the energy transition in Egypt, such as investing in energy efficiency and diversifying energy sources with renewable sources.
Moderated by Dr. Ayman Hamza, Official Speaker, Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, the panelists touched on the state’s efforts to encourage the private sector to invest in renewable energy projects by including feed-in tariffs and establishing a renewable energy network and green energy fund.
Eng. Amgad Elhewehy, Head sector of studies, research and testing, New and Renewable Energy Agency (NREA) emphasized the state’s role in providing attractive incentives. He pointed out that the government has allocated more than 31,000 square kilometers to the New and Renewable Energy Authority to establish projects.
Encouraging private sector
Eng. Ayman Fayek, Senior Business Development Manager, ACWA, highlighted the role of the private sector in supporting the transition toward renewable energy, especially that of ACWA Power.
He explained that the state has adopted a good approach in encouraging the private sector’s contribution to 66% in renewable energy projects, that is, a percentage that represents double government projects.
He stressed that partnership between the public and private sectors gives a strong impetus to renewable energy projects in Egypt.
“The government has provided the private sector with land, strategic studies, and air speed measurements conducted by the NREA, in addition to providing a package of contracts after they were negotiated and reviewed by international institutions in order to ensure the ability to finance these projects.”
He highlighted, as a successful example of these government measures, the Benban Solar Park, which was initially announced in 2015 and completed in 2019, drawing 32 investors to the country’s largest solar park at the time.
Activate carbon credits
Eng. Fayek praised the government's move toward establishing major projects in the renewable energy sector, adding that Egypt was also a pioneer in the field of wind energy with the Zaafarana and Gabal El-Zayt projects.
He also said that Egypt has 1,500 MW of wind energy, equivalent to the production capacity of the Benban Solar Park.
He stressed that the incentive packages provided by the state have helped stimulate the private sector and significant investors in the Arab region.
Eng. Ahmed Reda, Operations and Business Development Director, Enara, cautioned that the expansion of major projects in the field of renewable energy requires long periods of time, large investments, and amendments to legislation.
He stressed that activating carbon credits in Egypt - as in Europe - may be an investment opportunity to increase participation in global markets.
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