NREA called on Irrigation Ministry to provide water for Benban’s solar projects

Mohamed Farag
3 Min Read
Water disputes have erupted between Egypt and Ethiopia after 30 years of no communication (DNE Photo)

The commencement of construction on a series of solar energy projects in Benban, Aswan is contingent upon the receipt of estimated water totals needed during the construction process. The New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) in coordination with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation is waiting for solar project to provide the requisite information.

A source at one solar energy company said that their request for water from the Nile River has been declined. The construction of several ground-wells that will operate using solar energy or diesel fuel is the agreed upon alternative solution between the parties. The companies will pay the costs of the wells according to a cost-sharing agreement between the various companies.

Companies determine their water needs based on the technology used in construction. The water of needed water can also fluctuate over extended periods, ranging from an estimated high of 1,350 cubic meters per day to an estimated low of 120 cubic meters per day.

A total of 39 companies obtained lands in Benban to implement solar energy projects that will have a total production capacity of 1,800 megawatts, according to the feed-in tariff for renewable energy that was announced by the cabinet in September.

The cost-sharing agreement is one of five agreements signed by qualified investors to establish new and renewable energy projects according to the feed-in tariff system. The agreement includes sharing the costs of linking solar projects to the national electricity grid, the infrastructure work area in Benban, and the cost of constructing walls and fences and water wells, all of which will be under government oversight.

If construction dimensions exceed 10 metres, the commencement of the project is dependent on further  military. The Armed Forces Operations Authority will consider applications for permits during a period between one to three months. “But this period will not affect the projects,” the source said.

The 39 companies that will implement solar projects have obtained 12 licences and permits from different agencies after obtaining the lands, including the ministries of Defence, Antiquities, Environment, Interior, Petroleum, and Tourism.

New and renewable energy companies aim to find the necessary funding for their projects and financial closure before October 2016, according to the plan announced by the government.

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