Masdar, ACWA Power and the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) have concluded a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore developing up to 4 GW of renewable and natural gas fired power generation projects in Egypt.

The non-binding framework agreement will help to increase power generating capacity in Egypt and support economic growth. "Egypt is committed to meeting our rising energy needs and encouraging economic growth by developing new power generation in our country," said Dr. Mohamed Shaker El-Markabi, Egypt’s minister of electricity and energy.

Under the MOU, Masdar would lead development of renewable energy projects in partnership with ACWA Power of Saudi Arabia. The partners will evaluate 2 GW of renewable energy projects, including 1.5 GW of solar and 500 MW of wind. The first project that would be considered is a 200 MW solar photovoltaic plant.

The framework agreement also calls for development of 2.2 GW of combined-cycle natural gas generation led by ACWA Power.

H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar said: "Egypt has one of the fastest growing populations in the Middle East, so it is vitally important to support sustainable economic development by increasing access to energy. Masdar will rely on its proven experience delivering large scale renewable energy projects to explore cost-competitive options that this partnership could potentially develop to improve Egypt’s energy security."

Paddy Padmanathan, ACWA Power President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "Egypt is a very important market for us. Through this MOU, the partnership will look into potential opportunities of generating power more efficiently, utilizing a broader mix of fuel resources and renewable energy sources, hence providing cutting edge technologies and a more cost competitive approach.

"Producing 4 GW of energy will not only sustain economic development but will also position Egypt as one of the globally leading countries in the field of renewable energy."

Egypt has made installing additional power generation capacity a priority, rolling out one of the Middle East and North African region’s most ambitious renewable energy programs as it seeks to meet surging domestic energy demand while curbing reliance on fossil fuel imports.

At the end of 2013, Egypt had 31 GW of total installed generating capacity, dominated by natural gas and oil. It had 552 MW of wind and 20 MW of solar generating capacity.