11 December 2023 09:31 PM

"Benban", the Largest Solar Power Plant in Aswan

Sunday، 25 September 2022 - 08:58 PM

It is designed to produce an additional 2000 megawatts of electricity for the unified national grid .

Project Description

The station is located about 35 km northwest of Aswan in the village of Benban in the Daraw Center.

The project includes four transformer stations – Benban (1,2,3,4) – to discharge the energy produced from the solar stations

Work on the project began in 2015 in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 274 of 2014 and the project is located on an area of 9,000 acres on the desert road "Aswan - Cairo", and of such a huge size that it can be monitored from space, including seven million solar panels at a cost of about four billion dollars, and the project is implemented by about 40 companies specialized in solar energy and the investment cost of the project is about 3.4 billion euros and the implementing companies have completed 90% of the four main stations .

The project is built on an area of 8843.3 acres on the desert road "Aswan - Cairo" in front of the village of "Benban".

The New and Renewable Energy Authority has selected 39 companies specialized in energy production according to international specifications, including 9 international and Arab companies and 30 Egyptian companies out of a total of 200 companies that have applied to implement this huge project.

The selected companies signed their contracts with the Ministry of Electricity and the Authority under the Build-Operate-Operation and Transfer of Property (B.O.T .) system with a usufruct right for a period of 25 years.

Once the four main stations have been completed, these stations are ready to receive the electricity product generated from the solar power plants, and then upload them to the unified grid, and then to the competent distribution companies nationwide.

The mega project will create 20,000 jobs during the four-year construction period.

The project provides 6,000 fixed jobs in companies permanently when the actual work of the project begins.

The solar energy project in the Benban area of Aswan Governorate is the largest new and renewable clean energy project in the Middle East, and has been able to win many international awards, the latest of which is the Arab Award "Government Excellence", due to the importance of this project in the production of clean energy with a capacity equivalent to the production of the High Dam, and the following is the most prominent information about the project :

-  President Abdel Fattah El Sisi inaugurated the project on  December 14, 2019,

- Started in 2015, in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 274 of 2014, it is based on partnership with about 40 companies specialized in energy production in accordance with international standards including «Acciona» of Spain, «Alcázar Energy» of the United Arab Emirates, «Eneri» of Italy, «Total» of France, «Chint» of China and «Scatek» of Norway.

- The project succeeded in introducing about 1465 MW to the national electricity grid to benefit from it, making it one of the largest clean energy projects in Egypt and the Middle East .

Upon  completion, the  project's  output will reach  2,050 MW of power, and the total investments in the project will reach about $ 2 billion until mid-2021.

- The production of the project is equivalent to the energy produced by the High Dam estimated at about 2100 megawatts, and the solar energy project can be described as a "new high dam" on the land of Aswan .

- The project includes the largest concentration of solar power plants, and 4 transformer stations have been established to connect the power plants to the unified grid, where the total lengths of the cables connecting the power plants to the transformer stations reach 1000 km .

- There is continuous coordination between the Governorate of Aswan and the officials of the World Bank and the investment companies implementing the project by allocating a percentage of investments to the community development surrounding the project.

- The project of dualizing the western desert road "Aswan Cairo" was implemented in the distance facing the solar energy project in Benban at a distance of 9 km and at a cost of 60 million pounds .

- An integrated services area is being established to benefit the project in addition to the people of Benban and neighboring villages .

- There is a study to benefit from trained and irregular workers who were working in the phase of establishing solar plants in similar future projects.

Project Objectives

1 . The project is a new nucleus for generating electricity in Egypt from the sun and supporting the national network.

2 . The site of the project was selected in the area of "Benban" in Aswan, based on the studies and reports of NASA and some international scientific institutions, which confirmed that the project site is one of the sunniest in the world.

3 . The site includes 40 solar power plants under construction.

4 . The capacity of each station is 50 mw.

5 . Total energy generated by the sun is equivalent to 90% of the electric power generated by the High Dam.

6 . The Gas Insulated Stations (GIS) will be constructed for the first time in Egypt.

7 . The new stations support the trend towards clean renewable energy.

8 .It is the largest solar power station complex with voltage cells without storage in the world .

Climatic Advantages in Egypt

- Most of the country, from Cairo to the Far South, receives radiation of more than 6 kWh/m2/day. The days when the clouds appear daytime hours are less than 20 days a year, and the total radiation from the north to the south increases till it reaches 5 kWh/m2/day near the North Coast and exceeds 7 kWh/m2/day in the far south of Egypt.

- Most parts of the country, from Cairo to the far south, receive direct sunlight of more than 7 kWh/m2/day while the sun shines for over 4000 hours per year. Such numbers are among the highest rates in the world.

- The scattered solar radiation reaches its highest level in the far north of Egypt as it exceeds 2 kWh/m2/day; 40% of the value of solar radiation there. This cannot be overlooked when establishing solar systems in these areas while the scattered radiation is reduced to only about 20% in the far south.

- The southern desert in Egypt enjoys from 9-11 hours of sunshine per day, exceeding 3600 hours per year in various parts of Egypt.

- The amount of radiation falling over the entire area of Egypt reaches more than 6 trillion kW per day, more than 100 times the total electric power generated during 1996/97.

Strategic importance of the project

Egypt is witnessing significant shifts in its quest to address the energy crisis it has been facing for years, by increasing the share of renewable energy sources to 20% of the electricity produced by 2022 and 42% by 2035.

- The total installed capacity of renewable energy sources in the country until 2018 was about 3.7 GW, including 2.8 GW of hydroelectric power, the majority of which comes from the High Dam, and about 0.9 GW of solar and wind power, and these capacities are relatively modest, if compared to the total installed electricity capacity in the same year, which amounted to 50 GW.

Based on its integrated and sustainable energy strategy, the Egyptian government expects that in 2022 12% of the country's electricity will be generated based on wind, 2% of solar energy, and 6% of hydropower, and the focus is on the Benban project, which, once completed, is expected to become the largest solar PV project on earth and a milestone on the country's path to renewable energy sources.

The project took advantage of the new investment law passed in 2017 to increase foreign investment in order to support the national transition plan to clean energy, and to give Egypt an advanced position on the energy map in the Middle East and North Africa .

- The decline in solar energy prices helps the Egyptian government ease the impact of the policy of reducing government subsidies directed to the energy sector, in preparation for its abolition, and renewable energy projects ensure the stability of the country's supply of electricity under purchase agreements for 20 years of wind plants and 25 years of solar plants, away from the sharp fluctuations in the fossil fuel markets .

The developers believe that Benban's exceptional solar radiation levels, and low maintenance costs limited to cleaning photovoltaic panels from sand, enhance the feasibility of this project, but Egypt's success in implementing the Benban project, and renewable energy projects in general, would not have been achieved without completing the legislative and institutional framework that attracts investments to this economically promising sector .

Aswan is seen as the future of the south according to the development studies of southern Egypt, and is expected to achieve the highest rate of economic growth in the south, and is expected to account for the largest share of the population attraction in the development plan of southern Egypt, as it is not repellent of the population and is a promising development resource to a degree that allows to absorb about a million additional people .

Economic return of the project

The plant is the first step to exploit the sun on Egyptian territory to generate electricity and then transfer it to Europe through the ongoing link between Egypt, Cyprus and Greece, and the project will also allow Egypt to export energy abroad both to the African continent and to a number of Arab countries

The impact of the Benban plant on clean energy is enormous, as it provides clean energy to hundreds of thousands of households, and helps Egypt reach its goal of generating 20% of the electricity used from renewable sources by 2022, according to a report by the African Development Bank .

- The project contributed to the creation of 11,720 direct jobs, 23,440 indirect jobs in the implementation period, and 6,000 after operation, and 10% of the profits of the participating companies were allocated to social responsibility .

- The project contributed to avoiding 2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, promoting and attracting foreign investments in the region and issuing laws supporting investment, and the project also had a developmental and societal impact in the region by transforming the secondary school of industry into a school of solar energy, after agreement with the Ministry of Education, to implement the proposal of the Governor of Aswan to transform the industrial secondary school in Benban into a solar school, to include all the solar energy crafts from its beginning to the power plants in all its aspects

- The implementation of this national project comes within the framework of the State's efforts to increase the energy produced at the level of the Republic to support the unified national grid of electricity to meet the needs of the masses and also development and investment projects, where reliance is placed on cheap solar energy, which is an economic energy that does not run out, permanent, clean and better than gas, diesel and solar, where the Benban Solar Power Plant comes as one of the sources of energy diversity and maximizing the benefit of renewable energy, which is expected to dominate the electricity generation sector, and also contributes to providing opportunities Work for young people .

- The project's electricity production is equivalent to 90% of the energy produced from the High Dam, all of which have entered the actual operation of the service on the unified national grid, pointing out that Aswan is now the cornerstone of the field of solar energy, where it has witnessed a great boom in recent years not only in the field of power generation, as it is now preparing to export it to the State of Sudan within the framework of the interest in transforming Egypt into a regional energy center through the project of the electrical interconnection line between the Toshka transformer station and Wadi Halfa with a length of 100 Kilometer .

Energy Projects and Global Corporate Alliance

The governorate includes many energy projects, where it has provided many facilities to attract more serious Arab and international investments in this direction, which led to the alliance of 40 international companies to establish the largest complex to generate electricity from solar energy, the entry of natural gas into the city of Aswan to operate the Kema plant and supply homes and commercial activities with their needs, and the establishment of a solar power plant for the first time on top of the building of the Governorate General Court with a capacity of 100 km .

On the other hand, periodic maintenance and replacement work continues on the High Dam to preserve its electricity generation capabilities and preserve the share of Nile water from waste. The High Dam is one of the most important and largest giant national projects established in Egypt, and contributes to the generation of electricity to cover all parts of the Republic from the electric current, with the help of the support of the Investment Authority and its capabilities and expertise in attracting investment opportunities to maximize the utilization and optimal utilization of all wealth, and promote and market these projects with the introduction of the developer system that creates the infrastructure and then offers them to major companies

The projects being implemented on the Benban land in Aswan aim to mobilize private investment to build the world's largest solar PV power plants, as well as help stimulate economic growth, including creating about 6,000 direct and indirect jobs in the project construction phase, reducing harmful emissions by feeding 350,000 homes with clean energy, and launching more mega projects across the country for a new Egypt .

Tributes to the project

- The project is a huge economic leap that will have a positive return and what has been achieved is a historic achievement of a giant project in the field of producing clean energy, which is the generation of electricity from solar energy that will be talked about by all future generations, and that one of the consequences of this project is the establishment of a specialized school in solar energy in Aswan to graduate cadres capable of completing this huge work .

- The Benban Solar Park in Aswan has received a large number of international praise, most notably the reference of Bernie Sanders, US Senator, that "Egypt is building the largest solar power plant in the world, which is a technological revolution to be emulated in achieving economic growth that guarantees future generations their right" as NASA reported that Egypt is making a qualitative leap towards clean and renewable energy sources, and "Philippe Le Horo", CEO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), praised the Benban plant project, stressing that the project Amazing ."

The governorate includes several energy projects where many facilities have been offered to attract more serious Arab and international investments in this direction. This led to the alliance of 40 international companies to establish the largest electricity generating complex from solar power and the access of natural gas to the city of Aswan whether for operating KIMA plant or for houses and commercial activities. This is in addition to the establishment of a solar power station for the first time above the building of the Governorate Diwan with a capacity of 100 k.

The maintenance of the High Dam is also ongoing to maintain its capacity to generate electricity and to preserve the Nile's share. The High Dam is one of the largest national projects established in Egypt, and it contributes to generating electricity to supply the entire country with electricity with the support, potentials and expertise of the Investment Authority in attracting investment opportunities to maximize the best utilization of wealth. This is in addition to promoting and marketing for these projects with the introduction of the developer system that builds the infrastructure and then presents it to major companies.

The projects implemented in Benban, Aswan, aimed to mobilize private investment to build the world's largest photovoltaic solar power plants and help stimulate economic growth, providing about 6,000 direct and indirect jobs at the stage of establishing projects and reducing harmful emissions by supplying 350,000 homes with clean energy. Such projects also aimed to establish giant projects all over the country for a better future for Egypt.

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