Algeria to develop solar power in southern desert

Jun 18, 2007 02:00 AM

Algeria plans to make use of its hot southern desert to develop solar power for export and domestic consumption, the OPEC member country said. The scheme is due to be completed by 2015.
"Algeria has a huge sunny area with big potential to be exploited. It has also financial and human resources. It lacks nothing. We can compete with other countries," Algeria's Energy Minister Chakib Khelil said.

Algeria, one of the main gas suppliers to Europe, has benefited from high oil prices. Algerian authorities have set up a company called New Energy Algeria (Neal) to develop renewable energy sources in the country. The company is 45 % owned by state energy company Sonatrach, 45 % by gas and electricity utility Sonelgaz and 10 % by private agro-business company Semoulerie Industrielles de la Mitidja.
"We want to meet local needs and export abroad by 2015," NEAL spokeswoman Aicha Adamou said. "Germany has expressed readiness to import from Algeria. We have also possibilities to export to Italy and other European countries," she told an international conference on renewable energy.

Neal and Spain's Abener Energia have signed a $ 335 mm deal to build a hybrid solar-gas plant at Hassi R'Mel, with a capacity of 150 MW, due to come on stream in late 2009.
"Hassi R'Mel is not our sole project. We have many projects including plan to produce wind-based energy with a capacity of 10 MW," Khelil said on the sidelines of the three-day conference. He said the combined-cycle hybrid plants aim to reach 5 % of national generating capacity by 2015.
"We are making big efforts to produce renewable energy in Algeria and make it competitive with the energy produced by other countries," he added.

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