International desert-power alliance DII has turned a spotlight on the wind potential of the Middle East and North African (MENA), with research suggesting 2.7GW will be brought on line by next year and a further 20GW by 2020.
In its report Desert Power: Getting Started, DII, which is
shepherding the Desertec solar mega-project, points to a combination of high
wind speeds and grid connectivity as boosting the region’s short-term
“While 2013 figures
recently indicated that the EU wind-energy market is consolidating, DII’s
analysis shows that south of the Mediterranean, conditions for onshore wind are
particularly favourable,” says the report. “Electricity from wind power costs
€50-70 [$69-96] per MWh at good sites in MENA.”
Targeted capacity build-out
in the MENA countries, where wind speeds have been mapped at between eight and
ten metres per second, includes: Egypt (7.2GW), Saudi Arabia (5GW), Morocco
(2GW), Libya (1.5GW) and Jordan (1.2GW).
Currently, 1.4GW of wind
projects are in operation in MENA, of which 22% were switched on last year,
according to DII numbers.
Although onshore wind meets
less than 1% of energy demand in the
region, DII forecasts that this figure could mushroom to 50% “due to the
cost-competitiveness of the technology and the vast quantity of available sites
with favourable wind speeds”.
It highlights Algeria as a
first- mover in MENA. Wind farms in the North African country have achieved
levelised cost of energy of €0.06-0.085/kWh — and as low as a “commercially
competitive” €0.09-0.10/kWh when transmission costs to Italy via a high-voltage
direct-current interconnector across the Mediterranean are factored in.
hurdles have to be overcome: a self-sustained market requires sound regulation,
and not just for the private sector,” notes DII.
“Main measures include: secure land access, secure grid access, a
transparent permitting landscape, access to creditworthy customers and
high-quality meteorological data.”