By putting renewable energy in the first national priority on February 22nd, 2016 Algeria defined a new dual strategic line.
On one hand it envisages to keep the fossil resource lying fallow for the future generations, and on the other hand try to be blessed by nature. A balance pole on which it seems increasingly hard and tedious to reach balance and offset the level, in view of the slow progress of the achievements in the field of renewable energy since the implementation of the national program in 2011. At this pace the fact of achieving the outlined goals of 22,000 MW for 2030, means that Algeria must develop over the thirteen years, nearly 1700 MW in renewable energy annually, a figure which represents half of the claims of the first part of 800 MW out of 4000 MW under solar form is not imminent, certainly because of generally objective hazards, but out of sync with the strategy of the national priority.
On of the most remarkable quotes have just occurred to me in the gap which exists between the wish to do and the fact of doing, Miguel de Cervantes said in this regard: “Laziness never arrived at the attainment of a good wish”, are we within the right to say that we are struck of laziness considering the progress of the other countries in the field of renewable energy, where as Algeria starts in this month its second birthday since renewable energy were raised to the first rank.
In Austria the rate of 75% of electrical production is reached, and certain Lands reached the threshold of 100%, at equal percentage, France produces 75% of its electricity from its nuclear power plants, for a country as Austria reaching such a level in the energy mix conveys the command of the flexibility of the choice of this mix. The choice of Algerian energy mix takes hold as the most critical debate for the future of the oil industry, conservation of the reserves, but also re-industrialization of the country. The gas and oil industry shows today its limits in terms of growth and providing jobs in this sector became an obstacle course, as long as the generated profits have decreased.
With a recruiting potential of almost 250,000 employments over the next 5 years , the sector of renewable energy, becomes a genuine safety valve, by creating opportunities of direct and indirect jobs.
With all these elements, what is necessary for a renewable energy process to be on the rise, and leave this slump which seems to root to the spot?
Can we really admit that in its logic of prioritizing renewable energies and preserving the fossil resources (gas), the strategy of the balance pole misses and/or omits to define the approximations of time for its realization, it which was selected on the eve of a symbolic date of the nationalization of hydrocarbons? The interrogation is all the more true when we notice that the start of a good departure of renewable energy in our country takes time to trigger, giving in that way a message little reassuring to the investors and to the holders of technology and of its innovation, preventing them from looking to the future with complete confidence in this niche.
The disillusionment spectrum caused by the abandonment of the Desertec project, leads to the assumption of what is repeated twice does not attract, if this strategy continues to take time, the appearance of minority spokesmen today who are skeptical about the feasibility of this project, strengthens this apprehension. Wednesday, 1/18/2017, the Government Council approved an executive decree, which shall align the establishment of the specifications for the call-to-actions for investors for the 4 GW project. At the pace of situation progress, a question to KW/H arises: how long before it will be published and thus applied, the time to prepare and publish call to tenders, duration of granted deadlines for submitting the tenders, then deadlines for evaluation, in order to know finally the partner(s) who will be retained for this first pilot test on a large scale?
In the most supposed favorable conditions, when will the companies to which the deal is awarded in the framework of this invitation to tender start to work, and when can we reach the electricity capacity production of 800 MW/an, and from which year will the term of 2030 know the beginning of its counting? As many questions interfering with the hope to reach at least in 2030, a no fossil electrical production of 20%, and save by the same occasion 20% of volume of gas otherwise consumed for the production of these quantities of electricity. But is this all?
1- The legal frame of the electric system operator:
The law n° 02 – 01of February 5th, 2002 relating to electricity and gas supply by pipes, provides in its article 38 that “the system operator” is a commercial company. It exercises its activities of coordination with the operator of the market according to the principles of transparency, objectivity and independence. No share holder will be able to have a direct or indirect stake higher than ten percent (10%) in the capital of the system operator company. Except that today the system operator created in the wake of this law, is a 100%subsidiary of SONELGAZ, causing a double problem as regard the legality of its 100% holding by the parent company and its partiality with respect to the other future producers, in particular when it is about foreign investors who intervene on electricity production projects from renewable energies.
2- End of duality photovoltaic energy versus solar thermal energy:
The development of the technology of the photovoltaic energy and the drop of prices of its inputs on the international scale and costs of its achievement, put an end to the duality which between partisans of the development of solar thermal energy and defenders of photovoltaic energy. The resort to solar thermal energy seems to be postponed indefinitely, and the future options show that the production of solar energy on the basis of photovoltaic energy, will not be without consequence on the market.
A strong competition on this segment will indeed experience the appearing of partisans of various technological solutions of the photovoltaic energy, between crystalline Poly, the mono crystalline and the thin layer, a race which will also impact the course of the future projects.
This situation of deferring the use of the solar thermal energy will see increasing consequently the stock dedicated to the volume of solar thermal energy which is initially of 2000 MW out of 22000 MW of the global project by 2030, which supposes a new disequilibrium on made projections, and a strong demand on the photovoltaic energy supply.
3. The unknown factor of the interconnection to the network and its capacity:
The development of almost 4000 MW in the next five years at a rate of 800 MW/An, will quickly subject the distribution network to a strain, which will become critical according to the arrival of this quantity of energy on the network.
If currently the network condition is likely to support the interconnection of 4000 MW, this latter will know a critical saturation point, which will not allow as of 2021 producing more electricity, because of being unable to transport it.
The Algerian strategy relying on the prioritization of renewable energy on the one hand, and the conservation of the gas resources on the other hand, appears with the progress of technology as regards renewable energy in particular for the solar one and photovoltaic energy, like a very viable and promising option, except that this option seems to slow down, and the slowness in the progress of this project is not likely to encourage the applicants for investment in the solar energy through photovoltaics, since a bullish tendency of the photovoltaics demand in several countries will be likely to subject the market to a stronger strain, and to decrease the attractiveness toward the Algerian projects. Greek poet Théognis de Mégare speaking about slowness said “that a wise slowness defeats haste when the Judgment of immortal supports the continuation”.