EU funding renewable energy efforts in Algeria

OPEC-member aiming to diversify an economy at risk from lower crude oil prices.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  March 13, 2017 at 8:11 AM
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March 13 (UPI) -- Algeria, a member of OPEC, will get support in its efforts to diversify its economy with a $42.7 million package supporting renewable energy, the EU said.

Members of a bilateral consortium met in Brussels to sign off on the multi-million dollar package to back an economic reform agenda. The European Union said it was offering financial support for renewable energy and the promotion of energy efficiency.

"Today's EU package for Algeria will help Algeria diversify its economy contributing to the creation of new jobs and the modernization of public finances," Johannes Hahn, the European Union's Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy said in a statement.

According to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Algeria produced about 1.08 million barrels of oil per day on average last year, down 1.6 percent from 2015. The government in 2015 doubles its renewable energy target to 25 gigawatts by 2030.

Algeria has the 10th-largest natural gas deposits in the world and is the third-largest supplier to Europe. Its exports have been in decline, however, because of lagging foreign investments and the International Monetary Fund warned its economy may be at risk from lingering weakness in oil prices.

The government has planned for oil shocks by reviewing spending and focusing more on non-hydrocarbon revenue streams. Italian energy company Eni is one of the leaders in Algeria's emerging renewable energy sector, laying the groundwork for development alongside state-owned energy company Sonatrach.

A third of the funds allocated by the EU will support institutional and regulatory frameworks necessary to promote renewable energy in Algeria.

"In line with Algeria's efforts to diversify its economy, the program will also help promote private investment -- domestic and foreign -- in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects," the EU stated.

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