CAIRO: Minister of Electricity and Energy Hassan Younes announced that seven international companies have just bid to manufacture local components for the solar energy stations of the Kuraymat Integrated Solar Combined Cycle Power Plant Project, a project created by the ministry to develop the new and renewable energy sector and the first of its kind in Egypt and the region.
The ministry is currently evaluating the profiles and contracts of the bidding companies, after selecting the seven bidders from a list of 16 potential companies.
The ministry also confirmed that the bid winner will be announced at the end of this year, once all of the paperwork and appropriate procedures have been finalized. The ministry also added that the actual manufacturing of the local components for the project will be implemented in 2009.
According to the minister, this project, involving a 150 MW power capacity plant, is part of the ministry’s vision to develop the new and renewable energy sector as well as to provide clean energy to meet the increasing needs and demands of the country’s key, developing sectors. The aim of the project is to increase the power supply by constructing an integrated solar combined cycle power plant, thereby contributing to alleviating air pollution through a reduction in fossil fuel burning as well as curbing emissions of global greenhouse gases, the ministry added.
The project will also aid in encouraging the growth of investments in the private sector in regard to foreign partnerships when it comes to manufacturing, says the minister. He added that the private sector would also benefit by leveraging on the technologies and international contracts that will be held by the project.
“The project will rely on the same technology that is used for solar energy as well as converting natural gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG), said Samir Hassan, president of the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) to Al Akhbar newspaper. “By using such technologies, we will be able to manufacture this energy continuously, day and night.
The financing of the project will come from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), whose Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan agreement with Egypt is worth an estimated 10,665 billion yen, equivalent to $97 million. This is the second ODA loan made by JBIC to the country, following the ODA loan agreement with NREA to finance the Zafarana Wind Power Plant Project, worth an estimated 13,497 billion yen, around $125 million.
According to a JBIC press release, the proceeds of the loan will be used for the procurement of materials and equipment, as well as for the consulting services necessary to construct an integrated solar combined cycle power plant in the Kuraymat district, south of Cairo.
While power demand in Egypt has been growing at an annual rate of 7 percent in recent years, peak-hour demand is roughly on a par with the current installed capacity, causing supply restrictions. To meet this rapid increase while preserving the environment, the Egyptian government has drawn up a plan to generate 880MW of power – about 3 percent of the total installed capacity in the country – from new and renewable energy sources by 2011, according to the JBIC press release.
This project was undertaken under the international collaboration framework, in which JBIC and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have joined efforts to support global environmental conservation.
GEF’s know-how regarding environmental projects combined with its grant-providing capacity makes collaboration with GEF strategic for Egypt. Experts say that GEF will help increase the effectiveness of development assistance in environmental projects that developing countries such as Egypt find difficult to implement due to the high costs involved.