Scatec in talks for Nagaa Hammadi solar project

22 January 2024

Egypt's Public Business Sector Ministry and Norwegian renewable power producer Scatec are exploring the development of a solar power plant to supply clean energy for the operation of the Nagaa Hammadi aluminium complex in Egypt.

According to a cabinet statement, Public Business Sector Minister Mahmoud Esmat and representatives from Scatec met last week to discuss a proposal to establish a solar plant with a battery to provide clean electricity to operate the aluminium factory.

The discussions covered the economic feasibility of the project, the cost of production, selling prices, and the provision of the land necessary to build the solar plant.

To be implemented in cooperation with Egypt's Electricity & Renewable Energy Ministry, the solar park is planned to be constructed in two phases, each with the capacity to produce 500 megawatt-hours (MWh) of clean power annually.

The project's first phase is expected to be completed within 18 months from the date of signing, and the second phase is expected to be completed within 24 months.

A plan to install a 300MW ground-mounded solar farm for the Nagaa Hammadi aluminum smelter plant was first announced in 2021.

Nagaa Hammadi is located in Upper Egypt, on the west bank of the Nile River in the Qena governorate.

Egypt focus

MEED reported in May last year that Scatec is focusing its resources on Egypt following its withdrawal from two solar projects in Iraq and a planned green hydrogen project in Oman.

The Norwegian firm is looking to co-develop green ammonia and green methanol plants and a long-distance interconnector in Egypt that will require investments of at least $13bn in the coming years.  

The same month, the Egyptian cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding signed by Scatec and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company to explore the possibility of connecting the Egyptian electricity grid to Europe through Italy.

The interconnector is expected to carry 3GW of electricity daily between Egypt and Europe. It supports Egypt's plan to become an energy trading hub between the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

There are also plans for two joint green ammonia production projects in the Suez Canal Economic Zone and Damietta, which will reportedly require investments of $6bn and $870m, respectively.

In May last year, Egypt’s Alexandria National Refining & Petrochemicals Company and Scatec signed a $450m deal to build the country's first green methanol production project in Damietta Port.

The facility will be developed in Damietta Port, on the eastern edge of the Nile Delta, and will produce 40,000 tonnes of green methanol a year, which could be increased to 200,000 tonnes.

In July last year, Scatec signed an agreement with Egytp's New & Renewable Energy Authority to secure land for a planned 5GW wind farm in western Sohag.

The project, which is expected to require up to $5.6bn in investment, was initially discussed and reviewed by the Egyptian president and Scatec CEO Terje Pilksog in May 2023.

Renewable ammonia

Scatec is co-developing the Egypt Green hydrogen electrolyser project with Abu Dhabi-listed Fertiglobe, the Sovereign Fund of Egypt and local contractor Orascom Construction.

In November, Fertiglobe completed the first shipment of what could be the world's first internationally certified renewable ammonia from its plant in Egypt to India. It will be used to produce near-zero-emissions synthetic soda ash – a key ingredient in laundry powder – for Unilever.

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Jennifer Aguinaldo
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