German-Spanish wind energy company Siemens Gamesa said on Tuesday that commercial operations had begun at Egypt’s largest ever built wind farm located in Ras Gharb in Gulf of Suez.
The 262.5 megawatt wind farm project is equipped with 125 wind turbines of G97-2.1 megawatt Siemens Gamesa. The 2.1 megawatt turbines feature a 97m-long rotor suitable for low-wind sites, lightweight blades, an active yaw system, and a preventative maintenance system. Siemens Gamesa has completed the installation of these turbines 45 days ahead of schedule, according to a company statement.
The project is executed on a build-own-operate basis under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the state-run Egyptian Energy Transmission Company. It marked the first renewable energy project of its kind and size in Egypt for an Independent Power Producer.
The wind farm has been developed by Ras Ghareb Wind Energy, a special-purpose joint venture company established in 2017 by Engie (40 percent), Toyota-Tsusho / Eurus Energy (40 percent) and Orascom Construction (20 percent) on a build-own-operate (BOO) basis. The estimated investment in the project amounts to $400 million.
Representatives from the companies involved, including Siemens Gamesa and partners attended the opening ceremony at the site of the wind farm.
The project has been a driver of economic growth and job creation in the area during the construction of the wind farm, as most of the suppliers were local. It has involved a total of more than 50 subcontractors across the area, creating approximately 140 jobs.
Siemens Gamesa is also responsible for the maintenance of the turbines under a 15-year service agreement, provided by local workforce, to help increase activity and employment in the area. Some of these local suppliers are El-Masria Equipment, that supplied the cranes, SIAG, DSD Ferrometalco, and NSF that manufactured all the towers locally, along with support from Power Zone and Petrotec.
The project also led to industrial integration and value chain, which is one of the main priorities of Siemens Gamesa for a sustainable development of Egypt and Africa in general, the company added.
“Egypt has always been a key market for Siemens Gamesa.” Ayman Saad, managing director of Siemens Gamesa in Egypt said.
“The country offers huge growth potential in wind power, especially in the Gulf of Suez and the Nile Valley.”
The project “is unique in the history of our presence in Africa, since we have been able to install the wind turbines in record time: 45 days ahead of schedule.”
Saad said Egypt “is one of the 15 countries worldwide presenting the greatest potential for growth, as it is expected to install 6,500 megawatts of wind power capacity by 2026.”
“With the new capacity of Ras Ghareb, Siemens Gamesa has a total of 1,249 GW installed in the country,” added Saad.
Demand for electricity is increasing in Egypt given its growing population. The country aims to meet this increasing demand by diversifying its power generation facilities to renewable energy sources to avoid dependence on oil and gas. The government seeks the ratio of power generation from renewable sources to reach 20 percent of Egypt’s electricity production by 2022, and 42 percent by 2035.