According to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, Egypt has the potential to generate 53% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 and could reduce its energy bill by up to $900 million annually.
The new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Egypt Renewable Energy Outlook, published earlier this week at a high-level conference in Cairo, Egypt, in the presence of Egyptian government officials and regional decision-makers, also shows that renewable energy could supply up to a quarter of Egypt’s total final energy supply by 2030 (‘energy’ here being separate from ‘electricity’).
“This analysis offers the Egyptian energy sector a roadmap, building on current ambitions and plans, to enhance our position as an energy hub connecting Europe, Asia and Africa,” said H.E. Dr. Mohamed Shaker, Egyptian Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy. “Job creation, economic development and the growth of local manufacturing capabilities are at the heart of our renewables programme, and with the support of IRENA we can pursue our plans to grow the country’s installed capacity base through smart policies, and the latest renewable technologies.”
The report shows how Egypt could generate up to 53% of its electricity mix from renewable energy sources by 2030, double that which can be expected from current plans and policies. When incorporating renewable power, heat, and fuels, the analysis shows that Egypt could source 22% of its total final energy supply from renewable energy by 2030, up from only 5% in 2014.
“Remarkable cost reductions in renewable energy in recent years are encouraging governments all over the world to rethink energy strategies so as to better reflect the new economics of renewables,” added Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General. “Egypt’s renewable energy potential is vast and the Government has now moved decisively to accelerate its deployment. The Benban solar complex with its impressive scale reflects this new momentum.”
“Building on these achievements, Egypt has the opportunity to further raise its ambition which entails substantially increased investments. Attracting these investments requires stable policy frameworks and a streamlined regulatory environment that provides clarity and certainty for investors. Investments in renewable energy not only help to meet rising energy demand but they can also contribute to fostering economic growth, creating employment and developing local manufacturing.”
Specifically, the IRENA analysis shows that to achieve these higher renewable energy targets, Egypt would need to increase its renewable energy investments from $2.5 billion per year based on current policies to $6.5 billion per year. However, the resulting impact on the country’s energy costs would see a reduction of $900 million annually by 2030, equivalent to a cost reduction of $7 per megawatt-hour (MWh). Further, these cost savings do not include external cost benefits such as from air pollution which, according to the IRENA analysis, could yield social and health benefits worth as much as $4.7 billion annually in 2030.
In order to achieve this increase in ambition, the report highlighted the need for “significant adjustments to Egypt’s sustainable energy strategy” considering that the country’s current energy strategy, developed in 2014, “does not reflect the rapid economic and technological changes taking place at the national and regional levels.” Among the adjustments needed for Egypt to better accomplish its transition to a low-carbon economy is the elimination of burdensome subsidized energy prices. “Eliminating such subsidies,” the authors of the report write, “would relieve the government of a heavy financial burden, which has been a strain amid diminishing state revenues.”
The IRENA report concluded with seven key actions it deems Egypt needs to accomplish in order to accelerate the country’s uptake of renewable energy technologies. These include:
- Update energy and power sector strategies to reflect the growing cost advantages and other benefits of renewables
- Reflect the potential of biomass in future updates of the energy strategy
- Streamline regulations and clarify institutional roles and responsibilities for wind and solar development
- Reform the current market framework to improve project bankability
- Bundle renewable energy projects to strengthen risk mitigation and ensure their financial viability
- Conduct comprehensive measurement campaigns for solar and wind potential
- Develop a master plan for enhancing local manufacturing capabilities and create a vibrant domestic renewable energy industry
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