On Thursday, the Egyptian energy minister launched a new solar generation plant in the Siwa Oasis, a desert region west of the country.
Mohamed Shaker said that the 10MW solar power project would add to the existing diesel operated power systems in the city, Egyptian news agency Aswat Masriya reported.
The $25 million (ZAR296 million) project is funded by the United Arab Emirates who signed a grant worth $140 million (ZAR2 billion) last year.
Solar power in Egypt
According to the governor of South Sinai Khaled Fouda, the Southern city of Sharm el-Sheikh intends to power all of its lights with solar power within the next three months. Currently the city’s lights are powered by 70% solar power.
Egypt has plans to diversify its energy mix by developing renewable power plants including solar and wind plants within the next three years. The total generation capacity of the plants is estimated at 4,300MW.
Egypt going nuclear
As part of the Egypt’s energy diversification, the federal government announced on 10 February that they had entered into an agreement with Russia to develop the country’s first nuclear power plant.
Egyptian media The Cairo Post reported that the first part of the nuclear project will include the construction of two nuclear plants with an estimated generation capacity between 950MW to 1,600MW each.
According to the Egyptian ministry, the two nuclear facilities are expected to reach completion at the end of 2016.
Restructuring of the Egyptian energy sector
In February, the Egyptian government made the decision to privatise the electricity generation, transmission and distribution sectors.
The transition towards an unbundled power structure was made with the objective to increase power generation by creating a competitive market.
To boost renewable energy production by 20% by 2020, the government implemented feed-in-tariffs last year for renewable power generated by the private sector.