The CEO of the National Society of Electricity and Gas – Sonelgaz, Nourredine Boutarfa, announced last week that the first solar thermal power plant located in 650 km southeast of Algiers will be put into service within 4 years.

“We expect to commission the first solar thermal power plants in 2016-2017, the first stage will be operational in El Oued with a capacity of 150 MW,” said Boutarfa.

A transition to renewable energy

By decision dated 28 August 2011, a committee of national integration of renewable energy was created within the Sonelgaz Group companies. The latter task in particular to develop the engineering in the field of renewable energy and stop the manufacturing strategy components associated with the production of photovoltaic plants.

In its program of development of renewable energy, Sonelgaz includes the construction of 67 electric power projects, 27 solar photovoltaic power plants with 27 hybrid plants, 6 solar thermal power plants, and 7 wind farms.

The most powerful type of solar power will be solar thermal, with a maximum capacity of 400 MW for one of them. To a question of optimum efficiency, they will all be located in the southern regions, particularly in the prefectures of El Oued and Bechar.

Algeria has and invest $60 billion in renewable energy to develop an installed capacity of 12,000 MW by 2030, eventually 40% of its needs. The countries of North Africa will spend 15 billion dollars by 2020, with the energy transition, to gradually free themselves from fossil fuels.

Operation of the hybrid plant (solar-gas) from Hassi R’Mel

The hybrid plant in Hassi R’Mel began operations in July 2011 with a production capacity of 150 MW including 120 MW produced from gas and 30 MW based on solar energy. Connected to the national grid, the plant a source of renewable alternative energy.

This hybrid plant was carried out as part of a joint venture between the Algerian society NEAL (New Energy Algeria) and the Spanish firm Abener for an investment of $350 million. The management of this station is currently provided by Algerian and Spanish engineers, before being assigned completely, after a term of five years by Algerian engineers.

Located near Tilghemt, 25 km north of the industrial complex of Hassi R’Mel, the plant covers an area of 152 hectares including 18 hectares forming the basis for the installation of equipment and nearly 3,000 photovoltaic panels. It should be noted that the choice of implantation site of the energy project in the region responds to the combination of several factors, including the nearby gas field of Hassi R’Mel and sunshine in the region, with nearly 3,000 hours per year.

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