Algeria seen as African leader for renewable energy

GE sponsored a conference in regional wind and solar development, highlighting Algeria's strategy to build a greener energy sector.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   July 10, 2017 at 8:45 AM
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July 10 (UPI) -- Algeria is ahead of the curve when it comes to renewable energy potential in Africa and General Electric aims to ride that momentum, a regional manager said.

GE sponsored a conference on renewable energy in the African sector, highlighting Algeria's lead in wind and solar power developments. By 2030, the government aims to install about 22,000 megawatts of renewable power, which would be about eight times the level of natural gas consumption by today's standards.

Touffik Fredj, the regional chairman and CEO for GE, said that, for its size, Algeria has a great capacity for wind energy.

"The country is heavily involved in energy transition and the integration of renewable energies," he said in a statement. "We look forward to seeing this transition happen and thereby reinforcing our commitment to support the government's ambitious renewable energy development plan."

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.

In March, the European Union said it was offering $42.7 million in financial assistance to support energy reform in Algeria, which is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. A third of the funds allocated by the EU will support institutional and regulatory frameworks necessary to promote renewable energy.

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. The Italian energy company said in November it would work through a partnership with GE on a wide range of projects tied to low-carbon power options like solar power and wind.

The Algerian government has planned for oil shocks by reviewing spending and focusing more on non-hydrocarbon revenue streams.

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