Delivering a keynote speech at the Africa Oil & Power event, Chahar Boulakhras, the Managing Director of Sonelgaz, the state-owned utility in charge of electricity and natural gas distribution in Algeria, said renewable energies have become a national priority.
“In view of Algeria’s solar potential, its immense territory, our energy transition is focused on the development of renewable energy, particularly through the construction of photovoltaic solar power plants. We have launched an ambitious National Renewable Energy and Energy Management Program which was adopted in 2011 and updated in 2015. We have set ambitious and promising renewable energy targets and we are committed to make the next twenty years the era of the deployment of sustainable energies for the country. The program provides 47 to 51 TWh by 2035-2040.”
Chahar Boulakhras said the program is currently being implemented and that 22 photovoltaic plants with a total capacity of 350 MW peak in the South and the Hauts Plateaux regions have been completed. A 10 MW wind farm and small renewable energy plants operating with different technologies have also been completed. “This installed capacity has allowed us to identify constraints and challenges that could arise in the development of large scale renewable energies,” Boulakhras added.
Capacity building is also a priority in the sector. “National skills and capacities in this area exist and our strategy will focus on the development of renewable energies around two components: energy and industrial. This dual strategy seems to us to be decisive since it will favor the large-scale development of renewable installations.”
In addition, other investment support measures are planned to support the development of off-grid renewable energies, including applications in agriculture, water resources, individual use and isolated agglomerations.
Algeria’s strategy is also based on energy efficiency by aiming to reduce overall energy consumption by 9% by 2030 by improving the energy performance of homes and cities. “We are launching actions in favor of the house insulation systems, low consumption lamps, solar water heaters, sodium lamps public lighting as well as the promotion of clean fuels such as LPG and Compressed Natural Gas.”
Another important direction the Sonelgaz chief says is to create hybrid power plants in isolated networks in the South of the country, with the use of solar energy and wind power. “This makes it possible to reduce the fuel consumption in the power plants and the fuels used for its transport and consequently to reduce various pollutant emissions,” he said, adding “More than 50 MW peak in renewables will be produced by Sonelgaz to hybridize these currently fuel-based power plants.”