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Egypt Embraces Wind Energy to Reduce Oil Dependence

"Egypt plans to introduce a feed-in-tariff law by 2012, which has the potential to create a competitive market and would guarantee that all sources of renewable energy will be competitive with traditional sources of energy. Thus with the government offering electricity generated by renewable sources at a reduced rate, there is potential for electricity to reach poor rural populations....

"There is a growing trend in the MENA region over the last few years in wind energy production and investments in the sector. The economics of producing wind energy has improved and in many countries it is now the cheaper option amongst all new energy technologies. Several countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Oman, Iran, UAE, Israel, parts of Saudi Arabia and others have good wind resources where the velocity ranges from 8- 12 m/sec. Currently, the largest wind turbine is located in Sir Bani Yas Island near Abu Dhabi and has an installed capacity of 850 KW per hour.

"In North Africa, the expansion of wind farms continues in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, with Egypt being the leading producer of installed wind energy in the region. In the 1990s it was found that the Gulf of Suez was an excellent area for wind energy production, and Egypt with the cooperation of Denmark developed a wind atlas for that region....

"By 2020 Egypt is aiming to have over 20 per cent of its energy produced from renewable sources which will include 12 per cent from wind energy. The current supply is a little over 2 per cent. The production in Egypt increased from 145 MW in 2005 to 550 MW in 2010. The compound annual growth rate over the past five years from 2005 to 2010 has been approximately 30 per cent. If this growth rate of 30 per cent continues over the coming decade, Egypt will be able to achieve their target of 7,200 MW of energy by 2020. The country has already demonstrated good areas for setting up new plants, and investment for use of wind energy is increasing globally, due to a demand for the use of clean energy. All these positive factors will contribute to the growth in this industry, and Egypt could potentially exceed its projected target of 7,200 MW by 2020....

"The production of wind energy has the potential to offer employment opportunities for Egyptians in local communities where future farms are planned. Such investments can also indirectly support feeding industries such as glass mirror manufactures; and other ancillary industries such as blades and tower manufacturing. Egypt is a leading manufacturer of glass, and the glass mirror industry is growing with the country covering the entire supply and production chain. The industry currently employs over 2000 people to manufacture glass mirrors for the turbines alone, and has the potential to increase with the growth in wind farms. Blades and towers are also manufactured locally. Production of towers is currently a USD 47 million industry and employs 400 people in local communities in the country. Other related employment could range from meteorologists and surveyors to structural engineers and assembly workers.

"The electricity generated could be used to power desalination plants which will enhance water security and decrease Egypt‟s dependence on the Nile. The proximity of the wind farms to the sea will aid in this effort. This could also potentially reduce the countries dependency on oil and gas for desalination in the future...."

Implications from SFG:

"There is a clear indication of future growth of wind farms and the production of wind energy in Egypt. The trend indicates that it has a number of positive benefits, and is supported by the government. Egypt is poised to be a leading country in wind energy production in the future."

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Sources:

The Strategic Foresight Group, Middle-East Edition, May 2011, page 5-7: http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/SFG-ME_May2011.pdf#page=5

“Middle East largest wind turbine comes online in Abu Dabi”, Ameinfo Online. 20 January 2008. http://www.ameinfo.com/144256.html

Global Wind Energy Council
http://www.gwec.net/index.php?id=18

“A gust of wind energy in Egypt”, Egyptian Wind Energy Association. 14 July, 2010. http://www.ewindea.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=126:a-gust-of-wind- energy-in-egypt&catid=41:wind-industry&Itemid=68

“Manufacture Wind turbine components in Egypt”, How We Made It in Africa, 26 July, 2010. http://www.howwemadeitinafrica.com/manufacture-wind-turbine-components-in-egypt/155/