On Monday, Italian independent power producer Building Energy announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) for two 50MW solar photovoltaic plants in Benban, Upper Egypt.
The solar photovoltaic projects, estimated to cost $200 million (ZAR2 billion) were awarded by the NREA of the Ministry of Electricity & Renewable Energy of Egypt.
The solar photovolatic plants will begin construction in Q3 2016 for a total construction period of 12-months. Once the project reaches commercial operation it is expected to generate an estimated 143GWh per year, saving over 100,000 tonnes of CO2.
The two solar photovolatic facilities will be connected to a 220kV high voltage line connecting Asswan to Cairo electrifying 50,000 households.
Building Energy and the NREA have signed a 25-year power purchase agreement, which is to commence once the plants are in operation.
Leading the way for other MENA countries
Building Energy’s Managing Director of the Middle East and North Africa Cornelius Matthes: “We are delighted to announce the kick-off of our first two projects in Egypt. The country is blessed with world class solar and wind resources and has established an extremely well managed program under which it aims to produce at least 20% of its total power from renewable sources by 2020.
“This is why the Egyptian Government has implemented a series of concrete steps to facilitate foreign investments, in order to meet the increasing energy needs and support the economic growth of the country.”
He added: “ … through these projects, we will manage to positively impact the country, not only contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions, but also boost the local economy through the creation of over a thousand of new jobs. Other MENA countries will hopefully soon follow Egypt’s important leadership to deploy renewable energy on a large scale.”
Investing in S.African power
In May, Building Energy was awarded preferred bidder status in round four of the South African Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) for a wind and a mini-hydro project.
The company will also finalise development and implemention of a 140MW wind project in Roggeveld, an area between the Northern and Western Cape Provinces, which will generate 590GWh per year.
In addition, the Italian Group will build a 4.7MW small-hydro project in Kruisvallei, in the Free State Province, which will produce 36GWh per year once fully operational.
REIPPPP round one and three
The Italian firm was awarded a contract for the development of a solar farm in Kathu in the Northern Cape province and a biomass facility in Mkuze, a small town in South Africa’s Northern KwaZulu-Natal, respectively in the first and third round of the REIPPP programme.
Kathu is a 81MW photovoltaic project, one of the largest solar parks on the continent, and Mkuze is a 16.5MW biomass plant, the first and largest biomass facility in Africa.
The newly-awarded projects reportedly make Building Energy the first renewable energy independent power producer (IPP) to deliver projects across four different generation technologies: solar photovoltaic, biomass, wind and hydro.