Egypt and the UAE Sign Deal to Build Africa’s Largest Wind Farm

by | 7. Jun 2023 - 13:02 | Economy

The 10-gigawatt project is a step towards Egypt’s goal of achieving 42 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

Masdar, a UAE-government-owned renewable energy company, along with Infinity Power, Africa’s largest renewable energy developer, and Hassan Allam Utilities, a sustainable infrastructure-focused investment platform, signed an agreement with Egypt’s New and Renewable Energy Authority to secure land to build a 10-gigawatt (GW) capacity onshore wind farm in Egypt. The project is set to be one of the largest in the world, with a value of over $10 billion, according to a press release by Masdar. While an agreement to build the project between the parties was signed last year already at the UN climate change conference, a location was not announced.

The International Energy Association (IEA), estimates that in 2021 wind power capacity was at 830 GW, spread over 115 countries. Compared to 2020, this number was 94 GW higher, indicating that the joint project of Egypt and the UAE would present more than 10 percent of annually added wind power capacity. According to Masdar, the wind farm will produce 47,790 GWh of clean energy per year and reduce around 9 percent of Egypt’s annual carbon emissions by displacing 23.8 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. This would be a step towards Egypt’s goal of achieving 42 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

The companies involved did not yet disclose the sourcing of the required critical minerals. Many wind turbine motors contain high-power permanent magnets made from neodymium and dysprosium, two rare earth elements (REE). REEs are not mined globally but are concentrated to single countries like China which accounts for approximately 60 percent of the world’s supply of rare earths, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. However, the downstream processing is even more dominated by the People’s Republic, accounting for over 85 percent of processed REEs. 

While Egypt and the UAE will build Africa’s largest wind farm, a French company is constructing Europe’s biggest photovoltaic factory. Both ventures have the same underlying goal: To increase renewable energy adoption globally to meet the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 Celcius by the end of this century.

Photo: iStock/tifonimages

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