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Egypt To Build The World's Largest Solar Power Station In The Desert
- Aug 02, 2018 -

Egypt to build the world's largest solar power station in the desert


In 1913, the Philadelphia inventor Frank Shuman built the world's first solar thermal power plant in the suburb of Cairo, using the abundant sunlight in Egypt to extract water from the Nile River to irrigate the cotton field in the vicinity of the Nile. The discovery of World War I and cheap oil shattered the dream of Shuman's massive replicating of solar power plants. One hundred years later, his dream was resurrected again.


Egypt is building the world's largest solar power plant, Benban, in the desert 400 miles west of Cairo, at a cost of $2.8 billion, which will open next year. At present, more than 90% of Egypt's electricity comes from oil and natural gas. The government plans to generate 42% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2025. Benban is expected to generate 1.8GW of electricity, which can meet 4% of the national electricity demand. It consists of 30 independent solar power plants, the first of which will start operation in December this year.


Due to the high electricity price, India's Uttar Pradesh cancelled 1GW grid connected solar photovoltaic project.


Due to the inability to maintain high electricity prices for INR 3.48 ($0.050) /kWh, the new energy and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPENDA) of India Uttar Pradesh recently cancelled an auction of 1 gigawatts of solar PV projects in the whole state.


At an auction on July 10, Mahoba Solar (Adani) made the lowest bid for its 250MW project, INR 3.48 ($0.050) / kWh. Maheshwari Mining & Energy (MMEL) offered the same 20 MW project, with Acme Solar's 150 MW project quoted INR 3.54 ($0.051) / kWh.


So far, the lowest price for India's solar projects is INR 2.44 ($0.036) / kWh, which appeared in a bid for 500 MW in Bhadla, Rajasthan, in 2017.


As the government of Uttar Pradesh is expected to cancel the bid, the India national solar Union (NSEFI) has written to the country's energy minister to ask him to make appropriate instructions to north state power to comply with the electricity price, not to compare with other tenders, because the prices of the states are different because of different bidding conditions.


UPNEDA has announced that it will be re bidding. In the bulletin published in July 26th, it has "issued an online bidding of 500 megawatts of capacity for grid connected PV projects, based on the guidelines for the bidding of solar photovoltaic projects based on the electricity department and bidding based on electricity price."


In fact, this is not the first time that the State Energy Agency of India cancelled the project because of electricity price. In April of this year, Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited cancelled the auction of 500 megawatts due to high electricity price.