The Benban complex in Egypt. Source: EBRD.
The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering investing US $60 million in renewables developer Infinity Energy, a subsidiary of Egyptian conglomerate Mansour Group.
The funds will go towards the construction and operation of solar PV and onshore wind projects, electricity distribution infrastructure and electric vehicle charging systems in the developer’s native Egypt, as well as in Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon and Tunisia.
Onshore wind and foreign markets will be a new frontier for Infinity Energy, which claims to currently operate 184MW of PV in Egypt.
The EBRD’s plans are not yet finalised and are contingent on a final review, according to planning documents published on its website on Monday. The initiative is in line with the development financier's broader efforts to help diversify and privatise the Arab state’s electricity sector.
The EBRD has backed Infinity Energy in the past. In January 2019, the first of 16 solar plants financed by the EBRD at the Benban solar complex was switched on. The 30MW project was developed by an international consortium led by the Egyptian firm.
The 37-kilometre squared Benban park, found on open desert land around 15 kilometres west of the Nile River, is comprised of dozens of PV plots and is eyeing a total capacity of 1.65GW. A 50MW Infinity Energy plant that started operations in March 2018 is the complex’s largest plot.
In August, Scatec Solar switched on 65MW at the the complex and in March, the EBRD unveiled a US$330 million initiative to roll-out 400MW of bifacial PV .
IRENA’s 2018 outlook for Egypt claimed that that the sun-soaked country has the potential to supply 53% of its electricity from renewables by 2030 “by adopting the right policies." The Egyptian government’s targets are more conservative, aiming for 20% renewables penetration by 2022 and 42% in 2035.