Solar Energy is the solution for Egypt

Language: 
English
Sent On: 
Sun, 2018-05-20
Year: 
2018
Newsletter Number: 
15

Arab West Report published on April 11 an article about the Serious Negative Consequences of Egypt’s Impending Population Explosion.

 

The challenges Egypt is facing are huge. Among them are expected water shortages, since the Nile won’t be able any more to be the only source of sweet water for Egypt. In the light of this it was interesting to attend a discussion of the Dutch liberal party, VVD on North Africa on April 11. The main question was what the Arab Spring brought for these countries. The VVD had invited interesting speakers such as Dr. Paul Aarts, author of many books about the Arab world (http://www.uva.nl/profiel/a/a/p.w.h.aarts/p.w.h.aarts.html), Birgitta Tazelaar, director North-Africa and the Arab region at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Marit Maij, special representative of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for migration.

 

The speakers concluded that the region is facing great challenges. All three were rather pessimistic about solutions.

 

It is true that solutions are not easy but they overlooked the opportunities for large scale solar energy that is so abundant in the area which could greatly contribute to more welfare and wellbeing in North-Africa.

 

The speakers discussed the following questions:

·         Is the region now better off seven years after the first round of instability?

·         How can Europe better cooperate with these countries?

·         How can we help these countries more able-bodied to take up their own challenges?

 

The speakers proposed to dispense money from the European Union to restrain the refugees- streams, and to canalise them. As to especially Libya, money should be dispensed to combat the human trafficking in, through and out of that country that is in a state of decomposition without any effective authority. Secondly, money for the implementation of an anti-conception policy was proposed. Thirdly, Paul Aarts launched the idea of a basis income for the entire population of Tunisia to prevent a massive emigration to Europe because of a lasting unemployment that is expected to expand in the future, particularly for the highly educated young people. The audience responded with great scepticism to this proposal. Former VVD minister Wim van Eekelen disputed his suggestions. One of the arguments against Aarts was that this certainly would not reduce unemployment.

 

However, a key for resolving the problems in North-Africa is, in my opinion, the sustainable energy. A discussion followed in which speakers agreed with my arguments. I remember that in 2004 a group of Libyans came to the Netherlands for a course at Kipp in Delft to work with solar mirrors. VVD member Laurens van Doeveren mentioned businessman Herman Klijnsma who sees opportunities in this field for Dutch businesses. The Netherlands has long standing relations with Libya. Dutch diplomat Adriaan Pelt contributed in the 1950s to Libya’s constitution which has not been forgotten in Libya.

 

Egyptian President al-Sisi stimulates investments in large scale solar energy power stations. He should be complimented for that.

 

TuNur, a German energy company, developed a plan to generate solar energy on a large scale in the south-east of Tunisia. This will help execute the climate agreement of Paris, and has the possibility to not only provide Tunisia with energy, but also Europe, so that Tunisia will obtain the much needed foreign currency for its own economy. This project would also provide employment for the highly educated Tunisian youth. TuNur is also developing a solar tower in Crete. They are also laying cables to transfer electricity from Tunisia to Crete and from there to Europe. One can also read about this here www.energia.gr.

 

Would it not be better if money from the European Union would be spent on the development and utilisation of sustainable energy? Because, next to food and a roof above one’s head as housing, energy is indispensable for a viable life, and solar energy is in all North African countries abundantly present: The Sun. The trick is to find ways for utilizing it for electricity, solar-cooking, and sweet water-win installations such as advocated by www.solaq.nl. Desalination is needed for drinking water, irrigation and many other uses. Money from the EU could be invested in solar parks in all variants: Photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, and water winning in the desert.

 

In Siwa oasis, in the Western desert of Egypt, near the borders with Libya, an environmental friendly project is developing for improving and expanding agriculture development. (See also the report of Dr. Evert du Marchie van Voorthuysen following his visit to Egypt in November 2017 here)

 

 

From left to right: Cornelis Hulsman (AWR), Jantine Stulp (previous intern with CAWU), Eng. Ali Nagi (head of the power stations in the Marsa Matrouh Governorate), Prof. Dr. Evert du Marchie van Voorthuysen (chairman GEZEN Foundation for Utility-Scale Solar Energy, the Netherlands), Mustafa Awad (Siwa Farms) standing in front of Egypt's largest solar energy plant in Siwa Oasis during their visit in November 2017.

 

In a recent webinar about Egypt, calls were made for solar energy sponsors that can be sent to belen.gallego@ata.email.

 

It is regrettable that far too little attention is paid to sustainable energy investments from Europe in North Africa to prevent its own problems and to resolve problems of North Africa’s unemployment at the same time. It should be made clear to these countries that Europe aims no neo-colonialism, but to cooperation in good neighborship as is determined in art. 8 of the Treaty of Lisbon, in the interest of both continents.   

 

 

Hans P. Bienfait

 

Acting secretary of the Dutch Foundation GEZEN, foundation for the promotion of utility scale exploitation of solar energy, website www.gezen.nl