The agency is lobbying the state for approval for the project, so it can build a 3,000 kilometre-long interconnection with Germany. It is also in talks with German and Italian utilities to secure customers for the power.

The interconnection will initially be able to transport 800-1,000MW of electricity produced in solar hybrid power plants in Algeria. However, this could be scaled up to 6,000MW by 2018.

In the meantime, the line will also be used by other power producers. “We have to build a complete line for 6,000MW from the start,” says Hasni. “To optimise the line, we will need to share the spare capacity with conventional power producers until we build up global capacity of solar power.”

New Energy Algeria estimates producing 6,000MW of power in solar-hybrid plants will cost $18-20bn. Germany’s Deutsche Zentrum fur Luft-und Raumfahrt (DLR), which is co-operating with the Algerian agency on energy research, estimates the link will cost an additional €2-3bn ($2.9-4.4bn).

DLR has also signed an agreement with New Energy Algeria for the development of a solar energy centre at Hassi R’Mel, in the north of the country.

New Energy Algeria is also planning two 400MW solar plants at Mghaier in the east and Naama in the west.