EGYPT – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has approved a US$50 million loan for a 500 MW Wind Power Project in the Gulf of Suez.

The wind energy project is being implemented by the Red Sea Wind Energy company, a special purpose vehicle led by a consortium formed by French giant Engie and Japanese Eurus Energy/Toyota Tsusho Corporation.

A report by Egypt Today revealed that the consortium has already successfully developed a wind farm that is already injecting 262.5 MW into the Egyptian electricity grid from Ras Ghareb.

The new Red Sea Wind Energy’s wind project, which requires a total of US$560 million to be fully implemented, is being developed 45 km from the town of Ras Ghareb.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in a statement said that the project will contribute significantly to the transition to a low-carbon economy in Egypt.

The project will also contribute to the government’s ambition to produce 20% of the country’s electricity from clean sources by 2022 and 42% by 2035.

“The project is expected to bring significant environmental benefits, with annual avoided carbon dioxide emissions estimated at around 1,000,000 tonnes,” EBRD said.

The Gulf of Suez, particularly the locality of Ras Ghareb, is highly coveted by independent power producers (IPPs).

 In addition to the Red Sea Wind Energy project, the German-Spanish company Siemens Gamesa has received approval from the Egyptian authorities to produce 500 MW from two wind farms of 180 and 320 MW.

This increased concentration of wind farms on the Ras Ghareb area is however raising concern among environmental conservationists who feat that it will adversely affect the migratory of birds.

Birds are known to leave Europe to spend the winter in Africa, particularly in the Great Lakes region.

Tired from this long journey, they rest by letting themselves be carried by the wind, a manoeuvre which can prove fatal since the birds can be hit by the blades of wind turbines.

The EBRD, which is now participating in the financing of the Red Sea Wind Energy wind farm, was however quick to reassure people about the issue of migratory birds.

EBRD noted that the Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), on behalf of the project, will implement an active turbine management plan (ATMP) and a wind turbine shutdown programme to avoid impacts on birds.

“The Active Turbine Management Plan is already being implemented very successfully in an existing project,” the European Bank said.

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