ACCIONA Energía will build and own three identical photovoltaic plants in a 50-50 alliance with its partner in the region Swicorp (Saudi Arabia) using its Renewable Energy Platform, Enara Bahrain Spv Wll (“ENARA”). Their total rated capacity will be 150 megawatt (186 MW-peak) and the project will represent a total investment of approximately 180 million US dollars. Located in the Benban complex created by the Egyptian Government in the region of Aswan, it will be ACCIONA Energía’s first renewables project in Egypt.
The energy sale contracts (PPAs) for these projects and the corresponding network connection contracts (NCCs) were signed today in Cairo in the presence of the Egyptian Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail, and the Ministers of Electricity & Renewable Energy, Mohamed Shaker El-Markabi, and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr.
Representing ACCIONA were the Group’s Executive President, Mr. José Manuel Entrecanales, and Mr. Rafael Mateo, CEO of the Energy Division, while ENARA Bahrain were represented by Mr. Kamel Lazaar, Chairman of Swicorp, and Mr. Rabeaa Fattal, Executive Director of Swicorp and Head of the ENARA Renewable Energy Platform along with ENARA key founding partners represented by Mr. Walid Al Shoaibi, Executive Chairman of Shoaibi Group and Mr. Mong Ik Chung, CEO & President of KCC Corporation. The ambassador of Spain in Egypt, Arturo Díez del Corral, has also attended the event.
The three projects come under a feed-in tariff regime set up by the Egyptian Administration in call for tender Round 2, launched in October 2016. Overall, they will produce clean energy equivalent to the consumption of around 150,000 Egyptian homes, avoiding the emission of 297,000 tonnes of CO2 from fuel-oil power plants every year.
The energy generated will be supplied to the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) under a long-term purchase and sale contract (25 years) according to the terms set in Round 2. The financing of the operation has been closed with International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank institution specialized in funding private projects in emerging countries,and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) a multilateral bank which is also specialized in supporting projects in those regions.
“We are very pleased to increase our presence in an area with great potential in the long run for the renewable energy sector as is North Africa, working with such reputable partner as Swicorp with the support of IFC and AIIB ”, says ACCIONA Energía CEO Rafael Mateo.
“We are happy to see our partnership with ACCIONA materialize through these projects. We believe in the potential of the Region and Egypt and look forward to executing further projects in our pipeline under our successful alliance with ACCIONA” says Rabeaa Fattal, Executive Director of SWICORP and Head of ENARA Renewable Energy Platform.
Three identical plants
Specifically, the project consists of three identical 50 MW (62 MW peak capacity) plants, all located in the Benban complex in the Aswan region (Upper Egypt) 40 kilometers north-west of the city of Aswan and around 15 kilometers west of the River Nile.
Construction work is expected to start in December 2017, with entry into service planned 12 months after. Each plant will be equipped with 190,774 polycrystalline silicon modules of Jinko Solar technology, mounted on horizontal-axis tracking structures made by STI Norland.
A 41-plant complex
The Benban photovoltaic complex covers 37.2 km2 on a site developed by the Egyptian Administration through its New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA). It has the infrastructure needed to evacuate power from 41 privately-owned plants, with an overall capacity of 1,800 MW. It is expected to be completed in 2018, when it will become one of the biggest photovoltaic complexes in the world.
Benban is a key part of the Egyptian Government’s policy to develop renewable energy sources to diversify its electric power generation mix, which currently depends on oil and gas (the latter imported) to 90%, and to support economic growth, estimated at higher than 4% per annum in the medium term. Egypt has set itself a strategic target of covering 20% of its electricity demand with renewables in 2022 (8% in 2015). This would mean achieving a capacity of 2,800 MW from operational photovoltaic power by that date, according to forecasts by the NREA.
With these projects, ACCIONA Energía strengthens its position in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It will increase its renewable capacity by 60% over five years to more than 40 GW, mainly through new photovoltaic projects, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).