Meeting in Paris for the United Nations climate summit, French President Francois Hollande and Egyptian President Fattah Al-Sisi announced plans for further cooperation between the two countries on a number of issues, including renewable energy development in North Africa.
According to media reports, the two heads of state focused heavily on issues of security, as both have recently experienced direct attacks linked back to the Islamic State. However, the two also built on the climate change issues of the summit to discuss a transition towards sustainable development and the “green economy”. For Egypt, any further progress on renewable development is another step towards an energy diversification goal.
According to a PV Magazine report, last year, Egypt announced a feed-in tariff program to support a 2.3 GW goal. The country’s New and Renewable Energy Authority also selected “69 consortiums with large-scale projects of more than 20 MW as part of the initial FIT program for 2 GW of solar capacity.”
Earlier this year, Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding with Access Power MEA, which included the development of a 65 MW solar plant in Aswan and a 50 MW wind project in Zafrana, costing an estimated $200 million, according to local media reports. Signed by the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, the agreement is part of a broader push by Cairo to move away from over-reliance on costly and unstable energy options and help avoid a future of the sort of rolling blackouts that have plagued the country of over 80 million, especially during the hot summer months.
In recent years, the country’s successive governments have pursued a number of energy diversification reforms; including promoting domestic production and striking up new trade agreements to meet growing domestic demand. However, as recent events have shown, Cairo does not appear content to settle for just traditional energy options.
While the meeting between Al Si-si and Hollande was free of specific plans of action on the renewable energy front, both countries have expressed strong support for any options that would help reduce their dependence on costly and increasingly unreliable traditional energy resources.