On June 14, Egypt's Electricity and Energy Minister Hassan Yunis said his country will open its first solar energy plant by the end of this year.

The plant will be among four in the world with a 140-megawatt capacity.

Yunis had earlier said the government-run plant south of Cairo would be linked to the national grid as Egypt tries to meet a target of producing 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by the end of 2020.

The country's oil and gas reserves are projected to last for three more decades.

Last week another Middle Eastern country, the United Arab Emirates, said it was building "the world's largest" concentrated solar power plant. State-owned Masdar in the UAE said that French oil firm Total and Spain's Abengoa Solar were partners in a project to build the 100-megawatt facility.

Concentrated solar plants use mirrors to heat liquid which then heats water to power a steam generator that produces electricity.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010