Egypt evaluating solar desalinators


ACWA Power has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two Egyptian government departments relating to the evaluation of a series of renewable energy-powered water desalination projects.

The agreement outlines plans for a preliminary study followed by an initial feasibility study for desalination projects at undisclosed locations in Egypt which would be powered by solar, wind or a combination of the two.

The reports will be produced for Egypt’s Ministry of Housing, Utilities & Urban Communities and state-owned utility the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company. The public bodies will then decide on next steps for the proposed projects. Saudi fossil fuel company ACWA Power has not specified a timeline for completion of the studies.

Solar facilities

It was also not made clear whether the projects under consideration would include new solar and wind generation capacity,  or taking output from existing facilities to power desalination. Last year, Egypt connected more than 1.5 GW of solar capacity at the Benban site near the southern city of Aswan, and tendered a further 600 MW of PV generation assets.

ACWA Power itself developed 120 MW of solar at the Benban site, and also lodged the winning bid to develop the 200 MW Kom Ombo project in Egypt’s West Nile region which it expects to complete next year. “As we continue to expand our investments in the country,” said ACWA Power chief executive Paddy Padmanathan, “the execution of this MoU also signifies the trust being placed on us by the government of Egypt.”

The Saudi company is also developing the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant, in Abu Dhabi. The project is intended to be able to produce 909,200 cubic meters of water daily.

This article was amended on 20.10.2020 to correct an error in the expected daily water production.

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