Spanning across the uninhabited desert landscape, the CSP plant will collect solar energy through a total mirror surface area of 130,000m2.
As the summer months usher in heat from the sun above making this region unique to the world, Egypt is taking a new step forward in harnessing this untapped energy source.
Tucked away roughly 90 km south of the bustling streets of Cairo lies Kuraymat, the site of Egypt’s first hybrid solar power plant. The New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), an Egyptian government body, selected this site in 1997 from four others throughout Egypt.
Spanning across the uninhabited desert landscape, the CSP plant will collect solar energy through a total mirror surface area of 130,000m2. Kuraymat will feature parabolic trough technology integrated with combined cycle power using natural gas as a fuel. Combining the product of natural gas and solar absorption, the hybrid power plant will be capable of producing 150 megawatts of power, a solar share of 20 megawatts.
Funds secured from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) of the World Bank, the Japanese International Co-Operation Agency (JICA), and pledges from the NREA have allowed for the realization of this operation.
"The fruitful international co-operation played an important role in moving from the phase of experimental projects with limited capacities to large scale renewable energy grid-connected projects,” said Hassan Ahmed Younes, Egyptian Minister of Electricity & Energy at this year’s annual NREA meeting.
The NREA has collaborated with the German firm Solar Millennium Group, in particular its technology subsidiary Flagsol GmbH. Flagsol has designed the majority of instruments used in the solar field and was the primary supplier of the parabolic mirrors and the absorber pipes. After bringing the plant into service, Flagsol and Orascom Construction Industries (responsible for the plant’s construction) will be tasked with overseeing the operations the power plant for two years, before the administrative duties are transferred to the NREA.
“The hybrid power plant can be operated round the clock and serve 500,000 households with electricity,” said Sven Moormann, a representative from Solar Millennium Group.
An additive that will be welcomed by the growing demands of the Egyptian economy as peak load electricity generation had risen by roughly 7 percent in the last year.
“This cooperation was very successful and we welcome to cooperate again in other projects. The commissioning phase