“The basic impediment to renewable energies in the region is the incremental cost,” says Kilian Baelz, acting director of the Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), a Cairo-based energy policy think tank.
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“We are currently generating 400 MW of power from wind and will increase our capacity to 600 MW by mid-2010,” says Fathy Ameen Mohammad, vice- chairman for projects and operations at NREA.
“Our goal is to generate 7,200 MW of wind power by 2020, which is about 12 percent of total electricity production.” Energy experts believe it can be done.
Japan, Denmark, Germany and Spain have provided funding for onshore wind farms currently operating or under construction on the Red Sea coast.
Private investors are currently being sought for build-operate-own (BOO) wind projects to supply electricity to the national grid.
Another 200 square kilometres, with 720 MW capacity, is being developed at Gebel El-Zeyt, further down the coast.
And between these two areas a swath of 1,300 square kilometres has been allocated for independent producers to generate up to 6,000 MW of wind power.
One local firm already in the market is El Sewedy Group, which established El Sewedy for Wind Energy Generation (SWEG) in 2008 to manufacture wind towers and components, supply turnkey solutions to IPPs, manage wind projects, and provide service contracts.
SWEG recently purchased a 30 percent stake in wind turbine maker M.
“The proposed feed-in tariff will create an incentive for developers to build renewable energy plants to supply the national grid,” says Mohammad.