Egypt has taken a major step forward in its use of renewable energy sources with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Proparco, a French financial institution that supports private sector development projects in emerging economies.
The two institutions have together provided $116 million of financing for the construction and operation of two 50MW solar photovoltaic power plants in Egypt. These are the first two projects to be financed under the second round of Egypt’s ambitious feed-in tariff scheme for renewable and will be part of the planned 1.8GW Benban solar complex in Aswan province, in the southern area of Upper Egypt.
They are also the first projects under the EBRD’s new US$ 500 million framework for renewable energy in Egypt, which is expected to finance a total of 16 such projects delivering 750MW of capacity and under Proparco’s dedicated envelope for solar projects in Egypt.
The new facilities will be constructed, operated and owned by two Egyptian subsidiaries of the French company EREN Renewable Energy and Access Power, the Dubai-based developer, owner and operator of sustainable power plants.
More than 50 per cent of the population in the Aswan region live below the poverty line. The EBRD’s and Proparco’s solar projects in Benban will bring a significant short-term boost to the economy through the construction activities. They will also provide benefits through the transfer of skills and the creation of long-term jobs in the operation and maintenance of the power plants.
Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD and has been receiving funding since 2012. To date the Bank has invested €2.6 billion in 49 projects in the country. The EBRD’s areas of investment include the financial sector, agribusiness, manufacturing and services, as well as infrastructure projects such as power, municipal water and wastewater services and support for transport services. The Bank has also provided technical assistance support to more than 500 small and medium-sized local enterprises.