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Israel to invest more in Egyptian renewable energy projects

Israel plans to invest more in the field of power generation with renewable energy in Egypt, after two Israeli companies announced a major plan to carry out several projects to this effect.
The EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson (L) looks on.

Israel is seizing the opportunity in the field of renewable energy plans in Egypt in a bid to consolidate diplomatic relations between the two countries.

On Aug. 16, Israeli natural gas producer NewMed Energy and Enlight Renewable Energy, a publicly traded company listed on the Tel Aviv Investment Exchange, announced a plan to carry out major projects in Egypt. The plan includes investing in several types of renewable energy projects, notably in the field of solar and wind energy, energy storage and other renewable energy sectors.

The two companies will be involved in the plan’s launching, development, financing, construction and operation, and will be collaborating with Egyptian contractors.

Enlight Renewable Energy CEO Gilad Yavitz said in an Aug. 15 statement he was seeking to exploit energy projects, which he sees as a major opportunity in the region, particularly in Egypt, which has recently boosted its natural gas sector to become a regional hub.

Yavitz added that in addition to Egypt, the plan will target markets including Saudi Arabia, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman and Jordan.

In an article on Aug. 16, Egypt’s Enterprise news website reported that NewMed Energy is not a newcomer to Egypt, as, before changing its name from Delek Drilling, it played a major role in Egypt’s plans to become a natural gas hub in the eastern Mediterranean, which prompted a recent partnership between Israel and Egypt to increase gas exports to Europe.

“NewMed Energy along with Chevron operate the two largest offshore fields in Israel, Tamar and Leviathan, which pump natural gas to Egypt for liquefaction before being re-exported to Europe. The two [Israeli] companies are also working on developing the Cypriot Aphrodite gas field, which is set to be connected, via a new pipeline, to the two Egypt liquefaction stations [in Damietta and Idku] for re-export,” the article read.

Egypt plans to take advantage of renewable energy sources to generate electricity, which comes in tandem with the government’s announcement of an integrated and sustainable energy strategy to exploit clean energy, which is projected to reach 42% of the national power grid total capacity by 2035, of which 22% would be from solar cells, 14% from wind energy, 4% from solar concentrators and 2% from hydropower.

Israel and Egypt have recently been closely cooperating in the field of renewable energy for power generation.

On Nov. 18, 2021, Bloomberg revealed that talks were conducted between the two sides to build solar power plants on Egyptian territory, as part of Cairo’s plan to reduce carbon emission and promote the green technology sector.

In an article on the same day (Nov. 18, 2021), the Entreprise website reported that Israel’s neighbors, such as Egypt, are likely to resupply most of the electricity to Israel, helping Tel Aviv achieve its new goal of producing 30% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2030.

Moreover, Israel’s Ecoppia firm for robotic solar cleaning solutions is also operating in Egypt as part of its Benban solar power plant.

Ecoppia said back in February 2021 that although the Benban solar park in Egypt has very high levels of solar radiation, it suffers from dirt due to dust and desert sand accumulating on the solar panels, which requires frequent cleaning to ensure stable and optimum levels of productions.

Cooperation between Egypt and Israel in renewable energy went up to the next level when the two countries, along with the European Union (EU), signed a memorandum of understanding in mid-June in Cairo for the export of gas to Europe in an attempt to find alternatives to Russian fuel in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

On Aug. 4, Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar said following a phone conversation with her Egyptian counterpart, Tariq al-Mala, that Egypt is an important partner for Israel in the energy sector, with which Tel Aviv hopes to continue cooperation in the future.

In this vein, Maher Aziz, an energy, environment and climate change consultant and member of the World Energy Council, told Al-Monitor, “Cooperation between Egypt and Israel in renewable energy supports the Egyptian economy and opens up new areas for investment.”

“The Egyptian government is exploiting Israel’s progress in the field of electricity generation with renewable energy. Cairo is thus seeking to attract Israeli investments in the [renewable energy] field to the country,” he added.

Aziz went on to say, “The Israeli-Egyptian cooperation in electricity generation with renewable energy will witness great development in the coming period, as the two sides have expressed willingness to push things forward down this path.”

He explained that Israel is well aware of Egypt’s climatic advantages and large areas that make its lands and climate suitable for investments in the field of renewable energy.

Aziz stressed that “the recent Egyptian-Israeli agreement on the export of natural gas to Europe boosted the two nations’ desire to cooperate together in renewable energy sources to contribute to the transition to a green economy and preserve the environment amid the looming climate change consequences all over the world.”

“The Egyptian government is also keen to encourage private companies to participate in renewable energy projects in order to accelerate the transition to a green economy,” he explained.

In a meeting with head of the UAE K & K Group Tajeddine Seif in Cairo on Aug. 23, Egyptian Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker confirmed that “the state has taken many measures to encourage the participation of the private sector and major companies in new and renewable energy projects,” adding that “Egypt enjoys a clear variety of resources, which mainly include wind and solar energy.”

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