OST Energy is working with a number of international development finance institutions and independent power producers (IPPs) to provide the services and has signed several high-profile contracts with investors, major IPPs and lenders.
Although solar development has yet to take place in Egypt on a commercial scale and current installed capacity is low, ambitious targets set by the Egyptian government to bring online 2.3 GW of small and utility-scale solar by 2017 have attracted the attentions of the international investment community. A Feed-in Tariff (FiT) for solar projects up to 50 MW has now been introduced and a number of development areas have been assigned for allocation to domestic and international IPPs.
The Ben Ban development area in the governorate of Aswan is the largest of these development areas, consisting of 36 plots over an area of 37 square kilometres for projects of between 20 and 50 MW. Once fully occupied and operational, the site will have a capacity of nearly 2 GW, providing the vast majority of solar power required to meet Egyptian targets and constituting one of the largest PV installations in the world. Installation is due to commence in mid-2016 and is scheduled for completion at the end of 2017, thus setting a rapid development timeline for the projects.
Investors, led by international financial institutions and development banks, have called for the technical and commercial expertise of independent advisors and engineers, given Egypt’s limited track record developing utility-scale sites. OST Energy has been appointed by lenders including EBRD, Proparco and OPIC, alongside a number of IPPs, to provide technical advisory and due diligence on 15 projects, split between the Ben Ban site and other locations across Egypt. These services range from lender’s technical advisory and owner’s engineering services to environmental and social advisory support, and OST will be engaged throughout the construction phases and early operations of a number of sites until 2017 and beyond.
“Egypt has become one of the most interesting markets for solar development in the MENA region, which has attracted both international renewable energy developers and large local conglomerates” said Fulvio Mariani, Director, OST Energy. “The Ben Ban site, once completed, will be the largest solar PV development area in the world, with some of the highest potential solar resources. However, developers will face a number of challenges due to the harsh environment, and overlapping of several projects under construction at the same time. The definition of appropriate technical requirements for PV plants in these environmental conditions and effective coordination between the developers will be key to the success and timely completion of these projects. ”
Mr Mariani added that in the space of just a couple of years, Egypt is looking to progress from having practically zero solar installed capacity to bringing online one of the largest PV sites in the world. For the sponsors and developers responsible for making this happen, building on the technical and commercial lessons learnt in both developed and emerging markets internationally will be of crucial importance.
OST Energy is an independent global engineering consultancy specialising in investment support and technical advisory for the renewable energy market. It has a global presence, employing a team of over 100 renewable energy experts spread across offices in the UK, Italy, France, South Africa, the USA, Australia and India. The company has worked on over 1,000 renewable energy projects in more than 50 countries across the globe. In the Middle East and Africa, OST has delivered technical advisory services for more than 3 GW of renewable energy projects in territories including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa, Senegal, Uganda, Botswana, Mozambique, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya and Chad.
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