UK turns to Egypt for renewable energy imports
The UK is planning to import electricity from solar farms and wind turbines in Egypt, according to an article published on Friday in the Daily Telegraph. Details of the plans, which include the installation of subsea cables connecting Egypt to Europe, are due to be revealed at Rystad Energy’s EMEA Summit in London later this week.
Carlos Diaz, director of renewables and power at Rystad, the energy research and business intelligence company hosting the summit on Wednesday, told the Daily Telegraph: “European demand for low-carbon electricity is expected to grow substantially over the next three years. Building infrastructure in Europe may never be sufficient so we need to look at other sources.”
Egypt’s ample sun and high wind speeds make the country well-placed for renewable energy production.
In 2021, Egypt had around 1.38GW of wind power output in operation, mainly run by the New & Renewable Energy Authority, an arm of the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy. Along the Gulf of Suez, the average wind speed is 10.5m per second, enabling Egypt to produce 1.64GW of wind energy in 2022.
The country already acts as an energy hub in the Middle East and North Africa owing to a 250MW interconnector with Jordan and another 80MW one with Sudan.
Britain is looking to access this energy via Europe. Diaz told the Daily Telegraph: “Europe already has a good network so this should allow distribution of the power all the way to Northern Europe and the UK.”
However, in December 2022, a similar project was delayed. This involved an undersea cable connecting Britain to a solar farm in Morocco.
The project is unlikely to meet its target of generating power for the UK in 2027 as Xlinks, the company running it, failed to secure a government ‘contract for difference’ (CfD) on time.
CfDs offer companies producing renewable energy a guaranteed price for their output to incentivise investment in an industry where rates of return are uncertain.