Iberdrola Engineering has started up the 150 MW integrated solar combined cycle (ISCC) Kuraymat power plant in Egypt.

Kuraymat is one of the world’s first plants to combine solar and gas powered generation. The plant is designed to work during the night as a conventional natural gas combined cycle plant while during the day it will run in a normal cycle with added solar energy.

The plant is fitted with a General Electric model 6FA gas turbine and a Siemens model SST900 steam turbine. Its solar field covers 130 800 m2, with 160 parabolic cylinder CSP collectors and 1900 m2 of mirrors, said Iberdrola Engineering.

The Egyptian government, working through the New Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), awarded Iberdrola Engineering the EUR150m ($220m) turnkey contract to build this hybrid combined cycle plant in September 2007 after an international public tendering process, said the firm.

An uninhabited desert site 95 km south of Cairo was chosen for the project for its high direct solar irradiation and its proximity to an extensive unified power grid, expanded natural gas pipelines and water from the River Nile.

After discussion on ISCC technology the World Bank in 1999 decided to sponsor four ISCC projects – one respectively in Egypt, Morocco, India and Mexico – and award each a grant of $50m.

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