Egypt’s New & Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) has said it intends to develop its next thermal solar power project at Kom Ombo in Aswan, southern Egypt, as a solar-only facility.

Original proposals indicated that the Aswan plant would use a combination of natural gas and solar energy. A source at the NREA says that it now plans to develop the project as a pure solar facility as opposed to a solar/gas hybrid, such as the Kuraymat project, near Cairo.

The Aswan scheme is in the early feasibility stage, but NREA is confident that the project will have a capacity of about 70-100MW using concentrated solar power (CSP).

Egypt is set to commission the solar/gas hybrid project at Kuraymat by the end of 2010. Final testing of the Kuraymat project is under way and full commissioning should occur by December 2010. The plant 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 Cooperation (JBIC) provided finance for the project.

Another solar project has also been proposed for a site at Luxor.

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.