Sun Shines on New Energy: Despite Substantial Oil and Gas Reserves, Algiers Has a Long-Term Strategy for the Development of Alternative Energy Resources. Solar and Nuclear Top the List
With the world's eighth largest proven gas reserves and, at 82,000 million cubic metres in 2004 and the sixth highest annual production, Algeria does not appear to be in need of alternative sources of energy. Its oil reserves are the third largest in Africa and at an average 1.9 million barrels a day (b/d) in 2004, it has the continent's second highest production. But despite such strength in conventional sources of power, renewables are becoming an increasingly important part of Algeria's energy strategy.
By 2010, the country aims to be producing 700 MW a year through alternative means, excluding nuclear, thereby providing for 5 per cent of its domestic energy needs. This is projected to rise to 1,400 MW by 2015 and 7.500 MW by 2020. Exports of alternative power are also set to increase exponentially over the same period (see table).
A new legislative framework is being introduced to support this strategy. "The new electricity law [electricity and gas transportation by pipeline law, February 2002] and the hydrocarbons law [April 2005] encourage the use of renewables," says Energy Minister Chakib Khelil. "And we have environment laws and laws on new and renewable energy, all of which encourage the use of alternative energy sources."
The vehicle for the implementation of the country's alternative energy strategy is New Energy Algeria (NEAL), a private company set up in 2002 by the Energy Ministry to promote and develop power generation from renewable sources. State energy company Sonatrach and state power company Sonelgaz each have a 45 per cent share, with 10 per cent owned by private agro-industrial group Semouleries Industrielles de la Mitidja (SIM), one of Algeria's largest businesses.
"For a country like Algeria, with a lot of gas and oil, it's not easy to explain the strategy for renewables," says NEAL chief executive officer Tewfik Hasni. "But imagine the energy, situation in 20 to 30 years' time: there could be a hydrocarbons shortage, even for Algeria. Which is why we have started to evaluate our alternative energy potential."
For the time …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Sun Shines on New Energy: Despite Substantial Oil and Gas Reserves, Algiers Has a Long-Term Strategy for the Development of Alternative Energy Resources. Solar and Nuclear Top the List. Contributors: Not available. Magazine title: MEED Middle East Economic Digest. Volume: 50. Issue: 3 Publication date: January 20, 2006. Page number: 32+. © 1999 MEED Middle East Economic Digest. All Rights Reserved. COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group.
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