2022-03-14 14:06:21

City of Development, Creativity, and Renewable Energy

The city of Aswan, with a population of 300,000+, is the capital of Aswan Governorate and the country’s southern gate to the rest of Africa. The city flourishes on its large granite reserves, warm weather, abundant historical sites, and unique Nubian culture. However, its reliance on petroleum-based electricity has threatened further prosperity. First, this form of generation of electricity consumes large amounts of water and comes with a heavy carbon footprint and is a source of pollution. Secondly, the supply is inefficient and pricey. This has led to the deterioration of the city’s environmental situation and a decrease in the number of tourists. In response, the city has started an initiative centred around the high-profile Benban Solar Project. 

The Benban Solar Project is the largest of its kind in Africa – if not the world. The project covers an area of 37 square kilometres, with investments exceeding two billion US dollars. The project has seen the creation of 42 solar power stations with a total capacity of 2,100 megawatts, as well as 10,000 job opportunities for local men and women and people with disabilities. It is expected to reduce carbon emissions by two million tons annually. Cooperation has been conducted with international organisations, notably the World Bank for financial and technical support, as well as a consortium of companies for the construction of solar power plants.

Aswan has also integrated the solar project well into its vision for a creative, green, and sustainable city. It has built a solar energy school to teach students on the production of solar energy and manufacturing of power panels and encourage them to invent solar-powered machines and equipment. After such training, some students have started their own projects to serve the environment, as well as tourist villages, which is linked with the city’s push towards eco-tourism. Several Nubian villages have been created with eco-friendly homes and beautiful handicrafts and art performances. In combination with cultural festivals held every year, the city aims to boost back its creative and travel sectors.

This initiative contributes to the realisation of Goal 7 (clean and affordable energy), Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth), Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities), Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production), and Goal 13 (climate action) of the SDGs.