Algeria plans rapid green energy ramp-up


Source: SciDev.Net

Algeria is aiming to generate 40 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, energy minister Youcef Yousfi has announced.

About 60 renewable energy projects will be launched to give a capacity of 3,000 megawatts, hetold a press conference held to announce the strategy (2 January).

'The main purpose of this new policy is to prepare the country for the post-petrol era,' Yousfi said.

Currently, fossil fuels account for 96 per cent of export revenue, and are the basis of the national economy. The country hopes to supplement this revenue from exports of renewably sourced energy.

'Algeria has been late in developing the renewable energy sector, but by stepping up the launch of projects we can catch up,' said Omar Bouhadjar, research manager at Algeria's Centre for Development of Renewable Energies (CDER).

'Important projects were announced last month that will support the new Algerian strategy,' he added.

But legislators were forced to postpone a discussion of a draft of the renewable energy development strategy, due to take place on 4 January, because of political disturbances.

Algeria has also joined the Desertec Industrial Initiative, which aims to use Sahara solar and wind power to supply 15 per cent of Europe's electricity needs by 2050. This follows an official visit to Germany last month (8 December), when president Abdelaziz Bouteflika and chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to set up a joint economic commission to develop the project.

Meanwhile, a contract for Algeria's first wind farm was awarded to French consortium Cegelec (13 December). The farm will cover 30 hectares in Kabertene, 73 kilometres north of the city of Adrar, in southwest Algeria, and should be operating by 2012.

In perhaps its most ambitious project, the government last month (20 December) announced the creation of Boughzoul, 170 kilometres south of Algiers, as the first green city in North Africa, with homes for 400,000 residents.

The Global Environment Facility will support the project with an US$8.2 million grant. Planned for completion by 2025, it will be a model that Algeria intends to use for all future city developments in the country, according to the energy minister.

'A huge step will be in June this year when the prototype of the first photovoltaic panel to be totally produced in Algeria will leave the laboratories of the Silicon Technology Development Unit,' said Bouziane Mahmah, a researcher at CDER.

'The first facilities that will manufacture them will be launched by 2013, which will obviously reduce the expense of using solar energy,' he added.

Bouhdjar said that Algeria ia driving down the price of the technology it needs by capitalising on competition between suppliers — Japan, Europe and the United States.

Customer comments

  1. By Gerhard Knies on

    The post-carbon era is the great opportunity of desert belt countries to boost there economies and to develop the capacity of there societies to generate sustainable prosperity. It is a great step forward that the DEESERTEC Concept is now being embraced by the Algerian Government. This had been understood by the Algerian Company Cevital which belongs to the 13 founders of the DESERTEC Industrial Initiative in July 2009, as a first step to implement the DESERTEC Concept developed by the DESERTEC Foundation. It says "Mankind is confronted with enormous challenges: Global energy demand is climbing rapidly due to population growth and progressing industrialization. At the same time, global CO2 emissions have to be drastically reduced within the next few years in order to prevent a disastrous climate change. This is where the DESERTEC Concept offers a solution which can be implemented worldwide: Sufficient clean power can be generated in the world's deserts to supply mankind with enough electricity on a sustainable basis. DESERTEC is an integrated concept which includes energy security and climate protection as well as drinking water production, socio-economic development, security policy and international cooperation."

  2. By Edie Noll on

    @Gerhard Knies Under the Desertec umbrella, many people from all countries involved combine their efforts to build up this energy system. By doing so, a common goal is shared, which focuses on a sustainable future, for all involved. Finally, the focus is no longer on hidden agendas, like it has been during the oil era. It is for this reason also, that I embrace the Desertec project, and what it stands for. Because of the future energy supply, but equally important - because of the future prospects of peace, for our future generations. Thank you, to all, that made - and continue to make - Desertec a reality, for giving us all a future to look forward to.