Renewable energy agency New Energy Algeria (NEAL) has issued tender documents for the contract to develop a new solar/gas hybrid power plant at Hassi R’Mel in north central Algeria, 60 kilometres northwest of Ghardaia.

The contract calls for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of a 130-MW power plant, including a 25-MW solar component, on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. Bids are due to be submitted by early December, with work likely to begin in 2005. The successful bidder will be required to take a 51 per cent interest in the project’s capital, with NEAL and Banque Exterieure d’Algerie (BEA)taking a 34 per cent stake and the European Investment Bank (EIB) holding 15 per cent.

Expressions of interest were received in June from 12 companies, but reservations persist among some of the prospective bidders about the project’s viability.

NEAL has opened talks with a number of organisations about the contract’s financing. A Eur 50 million ($62 million) grant has been offered by Germany, with the US Department of Energy and a number of green funds also understood to be interested in providing financing (MEED 18:6:04).