New doubts arise about the 1,000 MW Solar project

New doubts arise about the 1,000 MW Solar project

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Algeria has embarked on a program that aims to be ambitious for the realization of the 1,000 MW solar energy production project.

The call for tenders to carry out this project called “Solar 1000 MW” was launched in December 2021 by the Ministry of Energy Transition and Renewable Energy.

The first photovoltaic kilowatt hours of the project will be produced by the end of 2023, the general director of the Algerian renewable energy company “Shaems”, Smaïl Mougari, told APS on July 10.

A term that does not seem to convince Tewfik Hasni. “You have at least one year to tie up the entire project and one year for construction. Therefore, it is not the end of 2023, but at the earliest the end of 2024 for a rational project that is not in its current form”, estimates the expert, contacted by TSA.

According to the energy transition consultant, there are conditions for carrying out a project of this type. The first is to clarify the place of the private sector in this program.

“It is a point that continues to be confusing: one day they tell us that it is the private sector, another we say that the State is going to finance it,” says Mr. Hasni. “It is not always the State that invests. The private sector must also be able to find a favorable environment to invest”, says the expert.

“An investor cannot be forced to take a risk based on the information they have provided,” Mr. Hasni stresses.

According to him, before the investor commits, he must evaluate the solar potential so that he can then embark on a project. “Solar, you have to measure it all year round because it varies,” he says.

The consultant also criticizes the fact of imposing a specific site to an industrialist. “It is the investor who chooses the optimal site for him. Second, industrial integration cannot be imposed on it either. It’s billions of dollars. You impose the conditions that you have put on it and this in a rather difficult situation at the moment that is marked by the lack of financing throughout the world. How do you expect investors to respond to your call for bids? asks Tewfik Hasni.

The second condition mentioned by Mr. Hasni refers to the need for “the implementing texts of the new investment law to be very clear and correspond to the wishes of foreign private investors” in Algeria.

Third condition: “the regulations must be frozen, we can no longer accept changes in the regulations”. “Who will take the risk if their regulation remains random? These are the conditions that have blocked all investment in general. And what will mean that the project will not see the light of day if we do not provide some transparency, ”he decides.

As a fourth condition, Tewfik Hasni calls for a reform of the Algerian financial system “so that it adapts to these great changes imposed on us by the economic, health and political crises in the world, and directs investments towards places that are most attractive”.

Tewfik Hasni’s clear conclusion: “We are far from all these conditions.” “And if we don’t solve that, we can only be pessimistic with any project, whether it is 1,000 MW or not,” added the consultant.

“Oil lobbies are holding back the development of renewable energies”

Tewfik Hasni refutes the idea that photovoltaics could be the dominant way to ensure Algeria’s energy security. Instead, it relies on solar thermal energy.

“Photovoltaics can only represent 20% of an entire global project that will integrate 80% of solar thermal energy. This is not a theory. All the projects that are launched in the Gulf region, in Africa, in the United States, are based on this principle, because it allows us to eliminate the intermittency of photovoltaics that do not produce (energy) only during the day, while the security energy requires us to have 24-hour coverage,” explains Mr. Hasni, citing another argument that solar thermal energy can be stored.

Tewfik Hasni accuses the oil lobbies of hindering the development of renewable energies (Enr) and the implementation of the energy transition in the world.

“All the decisions of the COP26 stopped. They even put the charcoal back in the chair,” he says. A trend that Algeria does not escape, according to Tewfik Hasni. “The results are there: we did not exceed 1% of what we had planned to achieve. However, energy security does not depend solely on photovoltaics. On the other hand, they tell us that solar thermal will not happen. Why ? They haven’t given us any evidence.”

The other “stratagem” used by the oil lobby to block the energy transition consists of claiming that hydrogen is the solution, he also accuses Hasni.

This is equivalent to doing the business of oil advocates since, the expert points out, hydrogen is produced from hydrocarbons, much to the dismay of climate advocates.

“With us, the Ministry of Energy Transition has set itself the goal of moving towards hydrogen when it is a lure. In fact, hydrogen is used to replace natural gas,” says Hasni.

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