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Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Green hydrogen steals the spotlight

MENA saw a slew of green and renewable energy projects either being signed or kicked off on the sidelines of COP27 yesterday, but green hydrogen was by far the belle of the ball. We saw the commissioning of a landmark green hydrogen facility in Egypt — the country’s first — along with expectations of more projects in the pipeline. These developments come as green hydrogen is picking up steam in several countries across the region.

#1- Commissioning kicks off at Egypt’s Ain Sokhna green hydro plant: The Sovereign Fund of Egypt (SFE), Norway’s Scatec, the OCI and Adnoc joint venture Fertiglobe, and Orascom Construction began commissioning of the first phase of their 100 MW green hydrogen plant in Ain Sokhna, according to a statement (pdf). The launch came during a COP event attended by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store.

What they said: “As the first green hydrogen project on the ground, the commissioning is symbolic of how COP27 is the conference of action and implementation,” Egypt’s Planning Minister Hala El Said told Enterprise Climate yesterday. “This project represents a practical response to the need to meet rising energy demand with minimum emissions. The first integrated green hydrogen plant in Africa, delivered in record time, shows what can be achieved when we collaborate around a shared ambition,” UAE Minister of Industry and Fertiglobe Chairman Sultan Al Jaber said.

#2- Progress on the Al Nowais Sokhna green hydrogen project: Al Nowais subsidiary AMEA Power is finalizing the technical details for a USD 800 mn 500 MW green hydrogen plant in the Suez Canal Economic Zone in Ain Sokhna, company’s CEO Hussain Al Nowais told Bloomberg Asharq in an interview on the sidelines of COP27. AMEA Power will cover 70% of the investment cost, with the expected to break ground in 2H 2023, Al Nowais is quoted as saying. The project will be geared towards export to European and Asian markets, he added.

#3- Belgium eyes 500 MW green hydrogen project in Egypt: A consortium of Belgian private and public sector companies including DEME Group, the Port Authority of Antwerp-Bruges, and Belgian utilities company Fluxys presented a feasibility study on establishing a 500 MW green hydrogen plant on Egypt’s north coast, according to an Egyptian cabinet statement. Details of each parties’ investments were not disclosed.

Solar and wind projects are included: The Belgian consortium is looking to establish a 700 MW wind energy plant and an 800 MW solar farm to support the plant’s green hydrogen operations, according to the statement.

Not their first rodeo: DEME Group submitted a USD 3.6 bn proposal to build a green hydrogen project in Egypt’s Suez Canal Zone earlier in October.

#4- Oman’s green hydrogen push continues, with European export-focused MoU: Oman inked an MoU with the Netherlands that will see the two countries cooperate on green energy, specifically green hydrogen, with an eye to develop a route for green hydrogen export to Europe. The agreement will look to help both countries identify “fuel sources and raw material” by supporting existing companies in these fields, as well as supporting knowledge sharing within the overall green hydrogen value chain, the statement notes. Oman recently unveiled an ambitious strategy to increase investment in green hydrogen to USD 140 bn by 2050.


#5- Egypt lands another massive wind farm: UAE’s Masdar alongside our friends at Infinity Power and Hassan Allam Utilities signed an agreement on the sidelines of COP27 to build a 10 GW wind farm in Egypt, set to be one of the largest in the world, according to a press release (pdf). The agreement was signed in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The details: The wind farm will have the capacity to produce nearly 48k GWh of clean energy a year, and will offset some 23.8 mn tons of CO2 emissions — equivalent to around 9% of Egypt’s total emissions, according to the statement. It is expected to save the country an estimated USD 5 bn in annual natural gas costs, the statement said. The news comes just a week after Saudi renewable energy developer Acwa Power signed an MoU to build a 10 GW wind farm in Egypt with the country’s state-owned electricity firms.

#6- Scatec wants to add 5 GW to its Egypt wind portfolio: Norwegian renewable energy developer Scatec will look at establishing new wind projects in Egypt with a combined capacity of 5 GW. The firm signed an MoU with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) and the New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) which will see it conduct feasibility studies for the proposed project, Scatec and the cabinet said yesterday.

25 GW: That’s A LOT of power. It’s almost half of the country’s current installed capacity, which at the end of 2021 stood at 59.5 GW, and more than 7x greater than the country’s total renewable capacity, which was 3.4 GW at the end of last year.


Egypt is still on track to be a renewables exporter to Europe through Greece, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Bloomberg (interview transcript), referring to the EUR 3.5 bn 3 GW Greece-Egypt Interconnector (GREGY). Egypt and Greece have also previously announced other power linkage projects, including the USD 4 bn, 2 GW EuroAfrica Interconnector with Greece and Cyprus and a possible further 9.5 GW of renewable power for export to Greece. Greece has also been exploring green hydrogen imports from Saudi’s Neom, with plans to lay a cable connecting Saudi to Europe, we reported recently.

UAE’s Averda, WasteFuel to set up waste-to-methanol plant in MENA: UAE-headquartered waste management company Averda is partnering with US-headquartered low-carbon biofuels developer WasteFuel to establish a commercial-scale municipal waste-to-renewable-methanol plant in MENA, according to a statement picked up by Zawya. The plant will produce methanol to be used in shipping from non-recyclable waste currently being collected by Averda, the statement notes. By diverting waste from landfills to produce “renewable” methanol, it will help to decarbonize the shipping industry “at scale,” it adds. The plant’s location is still to be determined, but is expected to be in the UAE’s Jebel Ali. No details were given about investment in the new plant, or the time frame for getting it up and running.

KSA, Oman sign energy cooperation MoU covering renewables, CCUS, and more: Saudi Arabia and Oman signed an MoU yesterday to cooperate on energy — including renewables, carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS), hydrogen, digital transformation in the energy sector, electricity, oil and gas, according to statements from the Saudi Press Agency and Oman News Agency.

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