For many years, the effects of climate change has threatened the coastal areas and the agriculture sector in Egypt, therefore, the situation urged the development of long-term sustainability plans.
Fortunately, Egypt is rich in natural resources that only need to be used appropriately; for example, we have a significant labor force and a substantial quantity of unrecycled waste that could be directed towards sustainable development.
The government, local communities and the private sector joined forces to develop synergies that build sustainability programs in order to benefit from these resources, increase production, improve environmental conditions and upgrade the quality of life.
Other strategies were established to control carbon dioxide emissions, reduce the level of greenhouse gases and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.
Meanwhile, a national program was initiated to improve slum areas, upgrade drinking water sources, produce effective sanitation systems and increase investment opportunities.
As per studies, Egypt enjoys excellent wind speed along the Suez Gulf with an average of 10.5 m/sec. Accordingly, an energy efficiency plan was established for 2012 to 2015, encouraging alternative investments across various sectors to satisfy 20% of the demand from renewable energy resources by the year 2020.
In May 2017, the Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Dr. Mohamed Shaker, announced a plan that aims to ensure that 35% of the energy consumption is renewable by the year 2035.
The European Bank Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) have allocated one billion USD to support the renewable energy production in Egypt and encouraged using waste like municipal solid waste, agricultural waste, sewage and old tires.
In December 2016, the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation turned to support biofuel production, which is extracted from jatropha trees that are available in Upper Egypt, and that will help eliminate carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
The New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), established in 1986 to enhance green energy projects, introduced renewable energy strategies as an integral part of the national energy planning, and implemented programs in coordination with other concerned local and international institutions to attract investments of 13.7 billion USD.
Moreover, the NREA have allocated around 440 million USD for renewable energy projects in the fiscal year 2017/2018.
Wind Energy in Egypt
Current Wind Farm Projects (1993 – 2017)
The first wind farm was established in 1993 with a capacity of 5.2 MW in Hurghada. Larger projects were brought to light in 2001 in cooperation with different international organizations like KfW (Germany), DANIDA (Spain) and JICA (Japan), on top of which were the Zafarana wind turbines that are monitored by the Scada system.
Also, the implementation of the 220 MW wind power plant in Gabal el Zeit in 2015 cost 220 million Euros and was established with the support of the Spanish company Gamesa Olica.
In cooperation with the Agence Francaise de Developpment (AFD), five power plants were built in Kom Ombo and Aswan with a capacity of 20 MW.
The Ministry of Electricity discussed the establishment of a 2,000 MW wind farm and a factory for producing turbine blades with Siemens and will cost around 2.36 billion USD.
Last October, a consortium agreement was signed between the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), ORASCOM, Engie and a Japanese firm, to build a 250 MW wind farm in Ras Ghareb, with an estimated cost of 465 million USD.
Future Expansion of Wind Projects
The total capacity is expected to reach around 1900 MW by 2018/2019.
Moreover, potential developments are now in the planning stages, including at least 3000 MW wind farms on the west and east banks of the Nile and 7200 MW in the Suez Gulf in extension to the installed project, which is planned to take place by the beginning of 2018. The project comprises of the infrastructure development and a connection for future wind parks in the Gulf of Suez and Gabel El-Zait, and will be financed by the European Investment Bank, AFD, and/or KfW and JICA.
Solar Energy in Egypt
Solar projects are considered to be the main channel to increase the contribution of renewable energies, and considering Egypt is a “sun belt” country with plenty of direct solar radiation, which opened up enormous investment opportunities.
Current Solar Projects (2012-2017)
The first solar thermal power plant was built in Kureimat in 2011, with a capacity of 140 MW and a combined-cycle power plant using natural gas.
Kodra Solar Energy implemented about 13 solar projects in 2016 with capacities ranging from 30 to 50 kW each. The company aims to establish solar power stations to serve irrigation projects based on the photovoltaic system in 2017.
Solar thermal electricity generation plants are under implementation with a total capacity of 100 MW, as well as a photovoltaic plants with a 20 MW capacity and a Concentrator Solar Power (CSP) in Kom Ombo. The project will be implemented through a cooperation between NREA and KfW.
The total capacity of installed PV systems is about 5.2 MW, including lighting, water pumps, wireless communications, cooling and commercial advertisement. PV systems are considered as the most appropriate application for rural and remote areas because of their small and scattered demand due to their distance from the national grid.
Currently, the NREA is executing three photovoltaic plants in Hurghada, which will produce 20 MW each.
The Egyptian government alongside the Norwegian Skatech Solar company launched a lifecycle project for 25 years, in which the company is committed to establishing six solar plants with a total capacity of 400,000 MW. The company has already allocated 500 million USD to start phase one, which includes the installation of 40 power plants in Benban in Aswan that will generate 1800 MW and will be completed in 2018.
Green energy expansion projects also include 13 solar energy projects financed by the International Financial Corporation (IFC), amounting to 203 million USD as well as 380 million USD worth of loans provided by the European Bank of Reconstruction (EBRD) for 16 additional projects.
Future Expansion of Solar Projects
The Federation of Industries is planning to operate renewable energy factories that were almost shut down.
NREA tendered three new solar power plants that will start operation soon under the first round of Egypt’s Feed-in Tariff system (FiT), and another 34 solar power developers who have signed agreements with the Ministry of Electricity and will take place in the second round of the system.
The Ministry of Electricity is planning to issue tenders for generating 36 MW from solar projects under the BOO system (build, own and operate).
South Cairo Electricity Distribution is establishing a solar power plant in 6th of October City with a capacity of 1 MW, the installation of 1,144 cells and a station that will limit the emission of 1330 tons of carbon dioxide.
ACWA Power Saudi Electricity Company is obtaining preliminary approvals from an international financing body to support the implementation of a 50 MW solar plant under the second phase of renewable energy purchase tariff schemes.
Dabaa Power Plant
Egypt is currently expanding the use of other renewable sources for electricity production. The Ministry of Electricity signed a protocol with the Ministry of Investments and International Cooperation to clear the land designated for El Dabaa Nuclear Plant that will have a capacity of 4800 MW, knowing that the contract between the Ministry of Electricity and Russia is to be finalized by the end of 2017. As per the agreement, Russia will provide 85% of the capital necessary for the project.
Renewable Energy and Real Estate
Now the worldwide trend towards going green has shifted to real estate, where a green building implies a property should be environmentally friendly and energy efficient.
Several projects were implemented with sustainability in mind by installing solar energy powers and employing cost-effective and healthy housing solutions. Green buildings use water and energy efficiently and they do not require frequent maintenance, therefore, are cost and time effective and have a longer life span.
The American University in Cairo is a great example of green buildings, as they have employed successful concepts when looking at design and structure like solar water heaters, rooftop farming and electricity efficient LED light bulbs.
Egypt’s mega project, the New Administrative Capital, is a promising project in terms of investments and the establishment of eco-friendly buildings as it applies state of the art technology that complies with international standards and criteria. Moreover, the infrastructure of the city is based on reusing and conserving water, which classifies it as “going green”.
In Sharm El Sheikh, we will witness the launch of the 500 million dollar project: City Stars Development, whereas in Ain Sokhna, the Sokhna Mountains will have a 250 million dollar budget. These projects are examples of sustainable and green technology, as they possess an energy-efficient ultrasonic filtration system that uses only 2% of the energy required by conventional filtration systems.
Go Green Initiatives
The Power Generation Engineering and Services Company (PGESCo) has succeeded in delivering fresh air, clean water and safe food as it tackled critical issues through initiatives that lead to environmental and social improvements.
PGESCo was also keen to develop awareness among its employees through voluntary campaigns. Accordingly, a group of them volunteered to put together a presentation and distribute it to all the departments about the importance of protecting the environment and its impact on our health and daily activities. There were also recycling baskets in every corridor in the company. The results of the “Go Green” initiative were encouraging, as the consumption of electricity, paper and plastic went down 11, 34 and 57% respectively from 2013 to 2015.
Similarly, the “Save the World” campaign slogan brought forth by Vodafone played a role in educating the public on the importance of taking eco-friendly decisions every day. As a company, they already ensure that their operations are running in a sustainable and efficient manner.
In the world of tourism, Jaz Collection arranged a cleanup campaign within the hotels in cooperation with the staff and some volunteers who participated in planting trees and cleaning the beaches and resorts.
“Kefaya Za7ma” is the slogan advocated by Green Arm, an initiative launched by the NGO Nahdet El-Mahrousa, which aims to address challenges of the Egyptian urban environment. The campaign calls for sustainable transportation, where they encourage people to walk, cycle or use public transportation for a healthier atmosphere.
Environmental pollution has emerged as a result of overpopulation, industrial and traffic activities, waste management systems and many other factors, and so consequently, pollution has had a negative impact on health.
Though Egypt generates a large number of e-waste, there are no specific regulations on what to do with it, and so it is collected in an unhealthy and unsafe manner. Fortunately, certain strategies are being established to improve e-waste management.
A recycling machine production unit was created to provide training and employment for marginalized youth and designed a number of machines for solid waste management. However, this did not solve the problem, and initiatives launched later to improve the situation like “Trash is Treasure” and “Sell your Garbage”, aiming to establish kiosks in different neighborhoods where people are encouraged to sell their cans, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard instead of throwing them away.
A third initiative was launched, “Sorting at the Source”, to encourage people to divide their trash into two bags at home: organic and solid waste, and was sponsored by the prime minister in partnership with national companies in charge of collecting garbage.
The project “At a Glance” was initiated in 2010 with an amount of 8.32 million USD and is scheduled to be complete by 2021. The project establishes a mechanism through which owners of public transportation vehicles may voluntarily give away their cars for managed recycling in exchange for financial incentives.
In November 2017, Egyptian industries launched “Ardak”, an initiative calling for sustainable development that is part of the energy conservation program , which supports the government’s plan to develop policies to rationalize consumption of available energy resources.
In light of supporting recycling projects, CEMEX Egypt has invested 230 million USD to use alternative energy and recycle agricultural and industrial crops as part of the cement manufacturing process that can be used to reduce environmental damage and animal waste, spending more than 16 million USD on waste management equipment.
In conclusion, due to global climate change, the planet will run out of resources at some point in time, and so it is essential for everyone to put more effort into being eco-friendly. Renewable energy especially is not only sustainable, but it also reduces operation and maintenance cost as they are derived from natural resources.