Egypt is planning to set up the first hydropower plant in the Middle East at the Red Sea’s Ataqa Mountain, according to Mohamed Shaker, minister of electricity and renewable energy.

Shaker told Daily News Egypt in an interview that the plant will have eight units at a capacity of 300 megawatt each, generating around 2,400 megawatt in total, and utilizing the pumped-storage hydropower (PSH) technology. Studies concerning the usage of PSH for energy production in Ataqa will be conducted until June.

The ministry’s Hydro Power Plants Executive Authority has awarded various contracts to develop the plant. AF Consult Switzerland and Artelia, leading consulting and engineering services providers in the field of pump storage power plants, were appointed as owner’s engineers.

The Chinese EPC-Contractor Sinohydro was also selected to be the EPC and finance contractor. Sinohydro will implement the plant at a cost of USD 2.6 bn over seven years, according to Shaker.

Ataqa is part of a broader plan by the Ministry of Electricity to develop and diversify the energy sources as well as cater to the growing demand in the region.