NEAL outlines bold plans for alternative power

10 March 2006
Algiers is set to launch by 2015 three new solar hybrid power projects with combined capacity of 1,200 MW, chairman of New Energy Algeria (NEAL) Tewfik Hasni told MEED on 6 March. The three plants will supplement the country's first hybrid plant, the planned 155-MW facility at Hassi R'Mel, for which the development contract is due to be awarded in April.

Approval for the three new solar hybrid projects, which will each have capacity of 400 MW, was granted in February by the Commission de Regulation de l'Electricite et du Gaz. The plants will each have a 75-MW solar power element alongside gas and steam turbines. The tender for the contract to develop the first of the three units is expected to be issued in the third quarter once the Hassi R'Mel project is under way. The successful bidder will take a 50 per cent stake in the project company, with NEAL holding the balance.

Site selection for the new plant is already under way. It will either be in the east, on the site of the planned new brackish water desalination plant at Megheyer near El-Oued, or in the west near the Moroccan border. 'The decision will be made on the basis of power generation needs in the two areas,' says Hasni.

The mid-March deadline for commercial bids for the build-own-operate (BOO) contract to develop the Hassi R'Mel facility has been delayed by a month, although a final date has not yet been set. An award will be made on the same day. Two Spanish companies - Abener and Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios -submitted technical bids to NEAL on 18 January. 'We are still evaluating the technical offers,' says Hasni. 'It is the first project of its kind, so the bidders wanted more time to prepare their final bids' (MEED 20:1:06).

The tender for the contract to develop a new 10-MW wind farm at Tindouf is also due to be issued by the end of April. By 2010, Algiers hopes to meet 5 per cent of its energy needs - an estimated 700 MW a year - through alternative means, with a target of 1,400 MW by 2015 and 7,500 MW by 2020. Exports of alternative energy are forecast to rise in line with the increase, with 200 MW to be exported by 2010, 400 MW by 2015 and 6,000 MW by 2020 (Algeria, Special Report, 20:1:06, pages 32-34).

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