Italian energy company TerniaEnergia has secured an order worth approximately USD 19.2 million for the construction of an industrial-scale solar power plant in Egypt with a total capacity of 47 megawatts.
The company acquired the order on behalf of “an Italian leading utility,” the renewables, energy efficiency and waste management firm announced in a statement on 19 May.
The solar park will be constructed at a location in the Benban area of Aswan, situated roughly 900 km from the nation’s capital. Covering approximately 150 hectares, the plant will be using Italian-made 3Sun solar panels mounted on steel structures.
The plant would help Egypt expand its energy options after suffering from severe shortages resulting in years of rolling blackouts during peak consumption hours.
Solar energy has been hailed as Egypt’s best bet when it comes to renewable energy sources and the country has initiated a number of projects in recent years to enhance its solar energy capacity.
In December last year, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced that it allocated USD 500 million to support Egypt’s solar energy program in 2016. Many of the projects would be located in Upper Egypt and stand as the world’s largest solar park upon completion.
Also, in a bid to encourage solar energy use by private citizens, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy in October introduced a feed-in tariff system to encourage private investment in renewable energy. Through this system, regular citizens can install solar energy panels atop their buildings and connect these panels to the government’s power grid in exchange for monthly payments for generating power.
The discovery by Italian oil firm Eni of a “super giant” natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea off the Egyptian coast has also significantly helped Egypt in its bid to develop its local energy production. The field, which spans 100 square kilometers, is considered to “be the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea” and is believed to potentially hold up to 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas -5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent in place.
As a whole, Egypt seeks to source 20 percent of its energy needs from renewables by 2020.
Although diplomatic relations between Egypt and Italy have been strained ever since Italian Cambridge PhD student Giulio Regeni was murdered earlier this year, economic ties seem to remain intact, reflected in the maintained cooperation in the energy sector.