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Gabel El Zeit Wind farm complex (Ensuring access to affordable, reliable and modern energy for all)
Introduction

Gulf of Zeit is the biggest wind complex in MENA region with total installed capacity of 580 MW and about 3 TWh in three years’ production, which saving fossil fuel and reducing GHG emissions. It consists of 3 phases, namely Gulf of Zeit 1, Gulf of Zeit 2 and Gulf of zeit 3 with installed capacity of 240MW, 220MW and 120 MW respectively. The project started in 30th Sep. 2015 and connected to the national grid in November 2018. The wind farm complex applies a shut down on demand approach that provides a safe route for migratory birds.

Objective of the practice

Gabal El Zayt complex capacity is 580 MW, with the most optimum conditions for wind farms such as wind speed, wind stability and ground terrain which prompts to 51.7% annual average capacity factor, that figure is viewed as a world record because the majority of wind farms worldwide can accomplish just from 30% to 40% capacity factor. NREA is giving a high consideration regarding Gulf of El Zeit complex due its esteem and its profits, for example, remarkable techniques for managements and supervisions.
NREA, which operates under the umbrella of the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy, will grantee the coherence of Gulf of Zeit Complex to work smoothly and to keep accomplishing its objectives, which are:
• Increasing the amount of clean energy in the Egyptian national grid as it is expected to produce more than 47 million 48 thousand Mwh in its life time.
• Reducing the fossil fuel consumption as it is expected to save more than 1.3 million Ton.
• Reducing the amount of Greenhouse gases emission as it is expected to save more than 25.8 million Ton equivalent of Co2.
• Adding more than 1.7 million man/day employment opportunities in both Egypt and European Union countries.
• Increasing the Egyptian society awareness about the importance of clean energy.
• Developing the local society in outlying areas "Ras Gharib".
• Minimizing any negative impact of project implementation on the surrounding environment and protecting the ecosystem.
The wind farm complex location is well known as a bottleneck for migrating birds in both spring and autumn seasons. Installation of wind farms has given rise to much controversy relating to bird conservational issues, which is the potential hazards represented in bird’s collision risk and mortality. In 2007 an environmental study was conducted to assess the Gulf of Zeit Area, and an area of 656 km2 were banned to be of use for the wind energy projects, because of the heavy bird migration routes.
The first approach in 2015 was to stop all wind farm turbines from 07:00 until 17:00, in order to allow safe path for migrating birds. It was unsuccessful because of the huge production loss during the migration seasons.
A second approach was implemented in 2016, with the cooperation of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA), a “shut down in demand system” was implemented. The System is a pioneer practice. Two radars with a detection distance of 12 Km were set, which give a huge advantage to the bird detection process. The control room "SCADA" operator requiring immediate stop the identified turbines in the migration path. Even though it was a challenge to train the radar operators on the Bird detection software and have all parties work in active cooperation. The result was a mortality rate of 0.003% of all birds that had crossed El Zeit wind farm complex of spring season 2016; in the meanwhile, the production loss was 0.15% during the same monitoring period.

Key stakeholders and partnerships

The New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) own and operate Gulf of Zeit wind farm. The Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA) sets the laws, regulations and guidelines for bird migration. The project was built by an EPC contract with cooperation with many international and national institutions such as the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), FIEM (Spain Government) and the KFW.

Implementation of the Project/Activity

In 2007 an environmental study was conducted in Gulf of Zeit Area. It divided it into three zones. A red zone (about 656 km2) where wind energy projects are panned due to heavy bird migration activity. A yellow Zone where more environmental studies should take place and, a green zone where the 580MW wind complex was implemented.
In July 2011 a 200 MW project contract has been marked among (NREA) and Gamesa EÓLICA through a fund by GDC/KFW Loan, EU grant and EIB Loan. An expansion of the project was introduced, which added 40 MW to the main project to be 240 MW instead of 200 MW. Another 220 MW project contract signed by NREA and Gamesa EÓLICA in February 2015 through a fund by Japanese international cooperation Agency (JICA). Followed by a 120 MW project contract in December 2014 between NREA and Gamesa EÓLICA through a fund by Spanish Corporate Internationalisation Fund (FIEM). The first phase of the wind farm complex was finalized with a high negative impact on the bird migrations. El Zeit wind complex has been chosen according to the availability of high average of wind speed but the location is a bottle neck for migratory birds in both spring and autumn seasons. In 2015 all wind farm turbines are stopped from 07:00 until 17:00, to allow safe path for migratory birds. The 2015 approach cut about 43% of the wind farm production due to the stop periods.
In 2016, meetings with EEAA have been held to reach a shutdown criterion, identifying all kinds of birds. Seven vantage points across the wind farm were built, and allocate seven Ornithologists, they observed the sky for bird flocks, once they detect birds, and if the birds are listed in the criteria, the Ornithologist shall identify the probable collision path and identify which turbines to be stopped. Then they inform the control room to stop the turbines immediately. Ornithologist continue following up the process, confirming wind turbines stoppage and, safe passage of birds. Once all birds have safely passed the wind turbines then they inform the control room to re-start the stopped wind turbines. The 2016 approach was dependent on visual detection of bird's flock, which is limited to 2.5 to 3 Km, also useless in case of fog or weather conditions. In order to overcome this, two radars with a detection distance of 12 Km were implemented in the "spring of 2016". Starting from 10th April 2016 the two radars were fully operating, which give a huge advantage to the bird detection process. Even though it was a challenge to train the radar operators on the Bird detection software and have all parties work in active cooperation. The result was a mortality rate of 0.003% of all birds that had crossed El Zeit wind farm complex of spring season 2016; in the meanwhile, the production loss was 0.15% during the same monitoring period.

Results/Outputs/Impacts

Altogether, Gabal El Zayt complex capacity is 580 MWh, with the most optimum conditions for wind farms such as wind speed, wind stability and ground terrain which prompts to 51.7% annual average capacity factor, that figure is viewed as a world record because of that the majority of wind farms worldwide can accomplish just from 30% to 40% capacity factor. NREA is giving a high consideration regarding Gabal El Zayt complex due its esteem and its profits, for example, remarkable techniques for managements and supervisions.
The Gulf of Zeit wind farm complex added 580 MW of installed capacity to the Egyptian national grid in November 2018 and boosted the renewable energy installed capacity to about 1125 MW. It has produced 3 .132Million Megawatt hour, and it is expected to produce 47.48 million Megawatt hour in its lifetime. Gulf of Zeit wind farm complex hourly production is equivalent to 916 thousand average homes electricity consumption. And also equivalent to lighting 145 thousand kilometers on highway roads, which is bigger than the total national roads length.

Enabling factors and constraints

Gabal El Zayt complex capacity is the most optimum conditions for wind farms such as wind speed, wind stability and ground terrain which prompts to 51.7% annual average capacity factor, that figure is viewed as a world record because of that the majority of wind farms worldwide can accomplish just from 30% to 40% capacity factor. NREA is giving a high consideration regarding Gabal El Zayt complex due its esteem and its profits, for example, remarkable techniques for managements and supervisions.

Sustainability and replicability

One of the main goals of establishing Gulf of Zeit wind farm complex is to increase the amount of clean energy injected to the Egyptian national electricity grid, the graph is presenting the energy portfolio in 2014. The total amount of wind and solar energy were representing 2.1% of the total national grid. The Egyptian Energy strategy aims to increase clean energy representation to 20% by the year 2022 and 42% by the year 2035.
Gulf of Zeit wind farm complex is one of the major projects held by NREA, with ambitious goals including
• Increasing the amount of clean energy in the Egyptian national grid
• Reducing the fossil fuel consumption.
• Reducing the amount of Greenhouse gases emission.
• Adding more than 1.7 million man/day employment opportunities in and outside Egypt.
• Increasing the Egyptian society awareness about the importance of clean energy.
• Development of the local society in outlying areas "Ras Gharib".
• Minimizing any negative impact of project implementation on the surrounding environment.

Conclusions

The project gave access to a great deal of capacity building opportunities and a lot of experience sharing. Also it gave a priority to the implementation of the environmental aspect in the planning of the project. Facing many challenges in the site and achieve sustainable solutions and sustainable management trends.

Other sources of information

The project gave access to a great deal of capacity building opportunities and a lot of experience sharing. Also it gave a priority to the implementation of the environmental aspect in the planning of the project. Facing many challenges in the site and achieve sustainable solutions and sustainable management trends.

Goal 7
Financing (in USD)
700,000,000 USD
Basic information
Start: 30 September, 2015
Completion: 21 November, 2018
Ongoing? no
Region
Africa
Countries
Geographical Coverage
Gabel El Zeit, southeast Cairo, 39 Km south of Ras Gharib city, Red Sea (28⁰05'17.46N 33⁰14'47.71E)
Entity
New and Renewable energy Authority , Egypt
Type: Government
Contact information
Eman Ibrahim, General manager of Planning Department , New and Renewable energy Authority , Egypt, emanramadan199@gmail.com, +201001441587
Photos
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United Nations