How the sun can drive gas away in Algeria

Sunset gas lines / Photo: Getty/Canva.

With its large natural potential, Algeria can play a key role in the renewable energy sector, at least at the regional level, and ensure its own energy transition. Its solar potential will allow to significantly reduce the consumption of residual gas. But in reality, the country finds it difficult to take it seriously.

Algeria, the largest in Africa with an area of ​​2.4 million km² and 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, one of the highest in the world, is paradoxically highly dependent on fossil fuels. According to the International Energy Agency, about 99% of its electricity generation comes from fossil gas and fuel oil, with renewable energy providing only the remaining percentage.

Faced with increasingly complex environmental challenges and required to provide both immediate and sustainable solutions to the problem of conserving hydrocarbon resources, the country’s leaders have appeared ambitious but utopian in sectors such as raising energy efficiency to unprecedented proportions. as diverse as industry, transport and construction.

Origin of electricity production in Algeria in 2019 / Infographic: Energy Revolution.

The government called for adaptation

Three decisions demonstrate the growing interest of the Algerian authorities in green energies: first, in February 2022, in February 2022, in February 2022, in February 2022, in February 2022, the implementation of the “Algerian government” the launch of an international tender announcement. “Solar 1000 MW”, it is likely to create an investment of 800 million dollars. According to the government, the project will be spread over several phases with the installation of at least 11 solar power plants of varying power in the south, specifically in Ghardaia, Ouargla and Béchar, El Oued and Laghouat.

In 2021, the former Minister of Energy Transition and Renewable Energies, Ben Attou Ziane, demanded that the Shaems public company be de facto affiliated with local or foreign partners. Knowing that a period of four months has been set for all operators interested in this project to submit their proposals.

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According to the latest news, 110 local and foreign companies have withdrawn the specifications that require each investor to participate in 66% of the financial arrangement, with the rest being the responsibility of two groups, Sonlegaz and Sonatrach (17% each). .). According to our information, about fifty investors have already visited the sites.

The latest measure announced by the government: help subsidize the conversion of 150,000 cars, including 50,000 taxis, to LPG, which is considered more economical and less polluting. In the same period, other equally strong decisions were made: President Abdelmadjid Tebbune called for the rationalization of domestic gas consumption “to conserve energy resources”. He reminded that gas and electricity are subsidized by the state, and only local authorities use the budget for 8% of the country’s electricity production.

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27% solar in electricity mix in 2030?

Thus, the generalization of the use of solar energy in municipalities will allow saving 2 billion m³ of gas, the export of which can bring 60 billion dinars (about 437 million euros) to the treasury of the State Treasury. In this observation, Tebbun ordered the concerned ministers to require all newly elected mayors to use solar energy for public lighting.

In this program, we are clearly thinking of connecting the photovoltaic power plants in the south, especially the Adrar plant, to the various plants in the north. The key word remains the “active participation” of more experienced researchers, experts and investors, especially foreign ones. The final pitfall to be overcome by Algerian authorities before green energies take off: the exploitation of shale gas, which appears to be firmly buried.

In April 2017, it was the former energy minister, Nureddin Butarfa, who solemnly declared that Algeria no longer needed it and at the same time announced an ambitious perspective for the country.By 2030, solar energy will account for 27% of national electricity consumption. Thanks to this firm commitment, the government ended the 2015 controversy that led to protests against the exploitation of shale gas, while the authorities themselves preferred to remain silent on the issue for a long time.

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