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Monday, 21 November 2022

Lekela earmarks USD 2 bn to grow its Egyptian renewables portfolio

Renewable power company Lekela Power is looking to invest USD 2 bn in Egypt over the next four years as part of a USD 6 bn plan to quadruple its energy production capacity to 4 GW from a current 1.1 GW, CEO Chris Antonopoulos told Bloomberg Asharq on the sidelines of COP27.

In detail: One-third of the USD 6 bn will go to Egyptian projects, another third to South Africa, and the rest to other African markets, Antonopoulos said. The company generally looks to finance some 25-40% of its projects through the sale of ownership stakes, he added, with the remainder coming from banks and long-term multilateral lenders like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

More wind farms in the pipeline? Lekela wants to increase its Egyptian wind energy production by building more wind farms, this time on the west of the Nile, the CEO said, adding that the company is looking into land use rights. Lekela kicked off operations for its 250-MW wind farm in West Bakr late last year.

Lekela is welcoming new owners soon: The fresh investments are part of plans to expand Lekela’s operations after it is acquired by Egyptian renewables player Infinity and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), who over the summer signed an agreement to purchase 100% of the company. The acquisition is expected to close in January, Infinity co-founder and chairman Mohamed Ismail Mansour told Bloomberg.

“The acquisition will increase the company’s focus on the Middle East in general and Egypt in particular, as we look forward to enter new sectors such as green water desalination and green hydrogen production, hopefully in partnership with the Sovereign Fund of Egypt,” Antonopoulos said.

We have a ton of renewables projects in the making: Egypt signed initial agreements for green hydrogen and wind power projects worth up to USD 119 bn during COP27, including a combined 29.5 GW of wind power projects and nine green hydrogen and ammonia facilities.

MEGA WIND FARM TO BREAK GROUND BY 2024-

The consortium of companies building a 10-GW onshore wind farm in Egypt will begin construction in 2024, Bloomberg reported yesterday. The wind farm will be one of the largest in the world and will be fully operational by 2030, said Mohamed Ismail Mansour, chairman of Infinity Power, which is working on the project with partners Hassan Allam Utilities and Masdar.

Putting this in perspective: This one farm is 3x the size of all the renewable power generation capacity Egypt presently has in place.

Finding land: The companies hope to acquire land for the project this year and are looking at a plot near Minya and another in Aswan, with both areas having wind speeds of 10 meters per second, Mansour said. The government will purchase the power generated from the wind farm, with exports possible through existing and planned cables to Europe, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Libya, he added.

Refresher: Our friends at Infinity Power and Hassan Allam Utilities together with longtime partner Masdar signed an agreement during COP to build the farm. The plant — which will cost at least USD 10-12 bn to build — will have the capacity to produce nearly 48k GWh of clean energy a year.

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