Egypt’s New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) is considering developing two new solar/gas hybrid facilities at sites between Luxor and Aswan.

Should the projects go ahead, they would use a combination of natural gas and thermal solar power to generate around 100-150MW each.

Egypt already has an integrated natural gas concentrated solar power hybrid facility under development, which is expected to start-up by the end of 2010.

The plant – located at Kuraymat, south of Cairo – will have a total capacity of 140MW, of which 20MW will be solar powered.

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF), an international partnership of development organisations and the Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) provided finance for the project.

Unlike the Kuraymat project, the new hybrid facilities would have thermal solar storage systems attached to the facilities. Such systems use solar energy from the day to partially power the plant at night, thus reducing the required gas-fired power.

Egypt has primarily focused on wind power projects as part of its renewable energy strategy, but it is also keen to develop a growing presence in the solar sector.