MENA invests big in wind energy
The narrative of renewable energy in the Middle East and North Africa is traditionally viewed from one point of view: the sun, which constantly beats down on the region's deserts. Solar is a significant source of power that is increasingly being used to transfer electrons. Wind, on the other hand, blows through the plains, hills, and oceans of the Middle East, and megaprojects have stepped up their game and are utilizing it.
The MENA region began commercializing contemporary wind energy a decade before solar, with projects in Morocco, Egypt, Israel, and Tafila, Jordan, where turbines languidly whirl near the old castle of Kerak.
Wind Energy Leadership in Egypt
Egypt is on track to become a regional wind energy leader. Following a series of setbacks to its ambitious wind farm plans, the country reached a $9 billion agreement with Siemens, a global leader in power generation technologies, in 2015. This agreement will be critical in Egypt's plans to build 2 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy generating capacity by 2022.
The agreement between Siemens and Egypt calls for the development of up to 12 wind farms, totaling around 600 wind turbines. The agreement also includes the construction of a plant to manufacture wind turbine blades. The facility, which will be located in the Egyptian town of Ain Sokhna, will employ 1,000 people and provide them with professional training.
Furthermore, Egypt is home to one of Africa's largest wind farms: the 21-square-mile wind farm in the Gulf of El Zayt. The farm employs 100 turbines to generate 200 MW of energy each year. This level of productivity can power half a million Egyptians and reduce carbon emissions by 400,000 tons. The project cost more than $350 million, most of which was financed by German KfW Development Bank.
Kuwait’s Shagaya Renewable Energy Park
Alghanim Industries, a Kuwaiti construction company, teamed up with the construction engineering company, Elecnor to build a wind farm at the nation's Shagaya Renewable Electricity Park as part of the government of Kuwait's plans to obtain 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.
The Shagaya project, Kuwait's first wind farm, cost more than $24 million to complete. Five wind turbines, each with a 2 MW capacity, will make up the wind farm when it is completed, resulting in a 10 MW total power output.
The Shagaya Renewable Energy Park, located west of Kuwait City, is a collaboration between the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) and the Ministry of Electricity and Water. In addition to the wind farm, the park will house a solar photovoltaic plant and a solar thermal plant. By 2030, these projects are planned to offer a total capacity of 2 GW of clean energy.
Saudi Arabia’s First Wind Turbine
Wind energy is an important component of Saudi Arabia's ongoing efforts to minimize its dependency on fossil fuels. The country's first wind turbine will be shipped and placed at Turaif this year. The turbine will provide power to a nearby Saudi Aramco bulk oil storage facility.
The wind turbine will stand more than 475 feet tall and have a maximum capacity of 2.75 MW. Saudi Arabia collaborated with General Electric to bring the technology to the country as part of the government's goal of producing 9.5 GW of renewable energy by 2030.
The $500 million Dumat Al-Jandal wind farm in Saudi Arabia broke ground in 2020, with the first of an anticipated 99 turbines installed. The farm, which is being led by EDF Renewables and Masdar, is intended to deliver sustainable energy to 70,000 Saudi families per year.
UAE’s first wind turbine
Sir Bani Yas Island houses the region's first wind turbine, which rises 65 meters tall and has three rotor blades each with a 52-meter wingspan, has an output capacity of 850 kilowatt hours. Masdar and Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development and Investment Company (TDIC) plan to build an onshore wind farm with a capacity of up to 30 MW on this island.
Hatta in the Hajjar Mountains on the border with Oman is expected to be the site of Dubai's first wind power generation facility. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is proposing a 28 MW project, which is currently undergoing a feasibility study.
With the rapid expansion of offshore and onshore wind projects, Project Managers with capital utility experience are in high demand. Because the industry is still in its inception, these applicants will be able to join an exciting industry and help pave the path to producing an unlimited source of energy.