Each hour, 430,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules of energy from the sun reaches the earth. The annual global energy consumption is around 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules. Thus, in a single hour, the earth receives enough solar energy to power it for almost an entire year. It is, therefore, not surprising that the world is working increasingly harder to harness solar energy especially considering the rate at which energy demand is growing. In 2018, global energy demand rose by 2.3%, the fastest pace in a decade. In the face of the urgent global demand for more energy, the world's biggest economy is being led by a man who thinks wind turbines cause cancer and solar energy is "not strong enough". New leaders are clearly needed in this area, and in comes Egypt with its $2.8 billion Benban Solar Farm near the city of Aswan.
By 2025, Egypt plans to get 42% of its total energy from renewable sources and what better way to pursue that goal than by hosting the world's biggest solar park. The park will consist of 32 separate plants on a 37 square kilometre piece of land in the desert. It will power at least 1 million homes. Apart from being a sustainability win, the project is also proof of the power of public-private synergy. A consortium of 13 enterprises is working with the Egyptian government on the park. Other key partners are the Africa Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Arab Bank of Bahrain, CDC Group, Europe Arab Bank, Finance in Motion, FinnFund, ICBC, and OeEB of Austria. The project is also expected to provide jobs to around 4,000 people upon completion.
In April, Scatec Solar, the biggest contributor to the Benban solar farm, grid-connected and reached the commercial operation of 65 MW of its 400 MW project on the site. Speaking after the completion of this initial phase, CEO, Raymond Carlsen, said, “We have been a pioneer in Egypt since 2013 and have worked closely with the Government to support implementation of large-scale solar to increase the country’s share of renewable energy. Grid connecting our first solar power plant marks a major milestone for us. This is also our first power plant with bi-facial solar panels, capturing the sun from both sides of the panels to increase the total clean energy generation.”
Egypt is walking its renewable energy talk with wind farms also in the works. The Benban solar park will be inaugurated in August, this year.
Header: African Investor