Construction of the country's first solar thermodynamics plant is due to start in mid-2008. The plant, which will be on the coast near Tripoli, will consist of a solar and combined cycle component with a capacity of 5.8 MW each.
It will also have a desalination capacity of 1,200 cubic metres a day. The estimated cost of the project is Eur 15 million ($21.3 million).Italy's Gengroup has been awarded the design and engineering contract on the project and is co-ordinating between the Libyan authorities and Italian contractors. Italy's Techint, together with the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment (Enea), is responsible for the design of the solar island, while Ansaldo Research is developing the combined-cycle element of the scheme.The plant could eventually be used for trigeneration, producing electricity, heat and cooling.Several other North African countries are planning to develop solar power plants. In August, New Energy Algeria (Neal), said it was developing a solar energy centre at Hassi R'Mel, in the north of the country (MEED 17:8:07). Cairo is also working on plans to encourage private sector participation in renewable energy (MEED 29:6:07).