Algeria is a country outstandingly rich in oil and natural gas and the first producer and exporter of LNG in history. However, for years fossil fuel mining and export have encountered various unfavourable circumstances, with Islamic radicals being the main one. At the same time, the government has very ambitious plans regarding renewable energy development.
Algeria’s energy mix is traditionally dominated by natural gas. In 2010 93 per cent of the country’s electricity was produced from this fuel. An additional factor that favours natural gas is its widespread availability and a very low price.
However, subsequent governments started to notice the potential of renewable energy and given the country’s geographical location, the solar energy was found the most important RES. The primary purpose of the renewable energy development program is to diversify energy sources and consequently, strengthen energy security.
22 green gigawatts by 2030
According to the plans of the Algerian government by 2030, as part of the Energy Effectiveness Program, the installed capacity of photovoltaic installations is to reach 22 gigawatts, 12 GW of which is to be generated for domestic purposes, while the remaining portion – for export. Due to its geographical location, Algeria boasts one of the highest Solar energy production potentials, estimated at nearly 14 TWh per year, with annual consumption of around 60 TWh. The daily potential fluctuates from 4.66 kWh per square meter in the north to 7.25 kWh per square metre in the south of the country.
The Wind Issue
The wind energy potential of Algeria is estimated at about 35 TWh per year, which arises primarily from high average wind speed in this region. The first 10 MW windfarm is being constructed in the town of Adar.