Algeria plans solar energy tenders to tackle rising electricity needs

Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach' solar plant is pictured in Bir Rebaa oil field in southern Algeria, November 25, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 28 January 2019

Algeria plans solar energy tenders to tackle rising electricity needs

  • Government needs to save gas for export
  • Economists urge better investment climate

ALGIERS: Algeria plans to issue several tenders for renewable energy projects this year as it seeks to meet growing demand for electricity and save gas for export, an official said on Monday.
The OPEC oil producing member hopes to build solar plants to produce 22,000 megawatts (MW), or 27 percent of its electricity needs, by 2030, up from about 350 MW now.
Algeria will soon invite bids from national and foreign firms to set up a solar plant with a capacity of 150 MW, a senior official at the energy ministry said.
“We are (also) planning tenders to produce 2,000 megawatts before the end of 2020,” he added, without giving more details.
Turning to solar power is part of a drive to guarantee cheap retail energy prices. The authorities are keen to avoid social unrest, and face sporadic protests in some areas over a lack of electricity and gas supplies.
“Our development plan is also aimed at maintaining contractual commitments with partners in terms of gas supply,” said Noureddine Yassa, head of a National Renewable Energy Development Center set up to develop the sector.
The increase in demand for electricity has averaged 6.91 percent annually over the past years, according to official data, in a country where the population has been growing by nearly a million people per year.
Algeria is currently using gas to generate 98 percent of its power output of 19,000 MW.
Increasing or maintaining the level of gas and oil exports is a top priority for the country as the two energy products make up 60 percent of the budget and 94 percent of total sales abroad.
Solar energy will also be used at oil and gas fields.
State energy firm Sonatrach has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Italy’s ENI to build solar plants.
The North African country wants to use the expertise of foreign firms but needs to tackle bureaucracy and slowness reported by investors.
“The (solar energy) plan is applicable if there is a political will,” said economist El Houari Tighersi, also a member of the parliamentary finance committee.
“The investment climate must be improved if we want to change the situation for the better.”

Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

Updated 01 June 2020

Arab News recording exposes Nissan lawyer’s lie on IMF bailout for Lebanon

LONDON: Arab News has published the recording of an interview with a Nissan lawyer after he denied saying that a bailout of Lebanon by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was linked to the extradition of fugitive tycoon Carlos Ghosn.

The former Nissan chairman fled to Beirut in December from Japan, where he faced charges of financial wrongdoing.

In a story published in Arab News Japan on Saturday, Sakher El Hachem, Nissan’s legal representative in Lebanon, said the multibillion-dollar IMF bailout was contingent on Ghosn being handed back to Japan. 

The lawyer said IMF support for Lebanon required Japan’s agreement. Lebanese officials had told him: “Japan will assist Lebanon if Ghosn gets extradited,” the lawyer said

“For Japan to agree on that they want the Lebanese authorities to extradite Ghosn, otherwise they won’t provide Lebanon with financial assistance. Japan is one of the IMF’s major contributors … if Japan vetoes Lebanon then the IMF won’t give Lebanon money, except after deporting Ghosn.”

On Sunday, El Hachem denied making the comments. “The only thing I told the newspaper was that there should have been a court hearing on April 30 in Lebanon, but it was postponed because of the pandemic,” he said. In response, Arab News published the recording of the interview, in which he can be clearly heard making the statements attributed to him. 

Japan issued an arrest warrant after Ghosn, 66, escaped house arrest and fled the country.

Now listen to the recording: