Egyptian government signs deal to buy power from 200 MW of Kom Ombo project


Saudi Power company ACWA Power today said its 200 MW section of the 500 MW Kom Ombo solar project planned in Egypt, is on track to start generating in the third quarter of next year.

The 50% state-owned Saudi developer made the announcement as it issued a press release to mark the signing of a 25-year power offtake agreement, network connection and right-of-use of the land with the Egyptian authorities. The Kom Ombo plant was originally set to be constructed by this month.

Rajit Nanda, ACWA's chief portfolio management officer and acting chief investment officer, said the facility would generate clean power at a price that “is the lowest in the African continent for a project that is soon to achieve financial close and commence construction.” pv magazine reported, in October 2019, ACWA had secured the tender with a final electricity price bid of $0.02752/kWh.

The company statement said ACWA is aiming to reach financial close and start construction before October, after securing a $40 million loan on top of the $14 million equity bridge loan pledged by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and a $27 million credit line from fellow development lender the African Development Bank.

The power purchase and grid connection agreements–plus the usufruct deal, which guarantees use of the land for the project–were signed by state entities the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company and the New and Renewable Energy Authority.

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Egyptian minister of electricity and renewable energy, Mohamed Shaker El Markabi, used the occasion to hint at a raising of his country's clean power ambition. Quoted in the ACWA press release, he said: “In line with Egypt’s Integrated Sustainable Energy Strategy, our aim is to produce 42% of Egypt’s electricity using renewable sources by 2035. Currently, necessary studies are being conducted to increase this percentage, stressing on maximizing the utilization of renewable energy in many areas, including water desalination and green hydrogen production.”

Egypt aims to generate 22% of its electricity from renewables by next year but was lagging well short at the end of last year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency, which has estimated only 10.1% of generation came from clean power sources at that point.

ACWA said its energy operations in Egypt include 120 MW of solar generation capacity at the huge Benban solar field and a 2.25 GW gas plant in the Luxor governorate.

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