Showdown for the Sun

  • By Super User
  • In editiorial
  • Posted 22 February 2017

In its projections, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that the share of oil will continue to fall, and will be replaced by gas and renewables; the XXI century is intended to be cleaner and more electrical.

Persistently low oil prices are undermining our meagre savings and growth opportunities, even if OPEC expects a rebalancing of market fundamentals, thanks to the decline in non-OPEC production and the upward swing of the global demand.


Good news indeed, but there is no room for complacency. The challenge is even bigger considering that the respite is uncertain and that a price between 50-60 dollars, as expected in the second half of 2016, will help bridge an already huge deficit, and slow down the melting of the income adjustment fund and the rapid depletion of foreign exchange reserves. Falling oil prices, declining oil deposit reserves, shrinking discoveries: it’s like a dying fire, which can no longer keep you warm.

By contrast, the Sun is at its zenith, and we seriously need to tap the resources it offers, but in a more realistic and practical way.

Algeria has a new minister for energy. Will he be the man at the core of the renewables strategy, which is now a national priority? The question is particularly relevant as the new energy minister has been at the heart of the photovoltaic option since its launch in 2009 in Algeria, and of all initiatives in this area. In March 2015, in a long interview with our OGB Magazine, the new energy minister insisted that a realistic goal for solar and wind energy in Algeria, had to be in the 5-year medium term, which will reveal the destination of the 22,000 MW expected for 2030. In his opinion, we must adopt as many renewables as possible, provided they are economical, while meeting current needs and preparing the future.

Taken in context, should we understand that this appointment is intended to refocus the role and place of renewables in the future, away from dogma and palaver ?

Does this mean that the issue of renewable energies is opening a more pragmatic chapter?

The new minister knows the drawbacks of stillborn projects like DESERTEC and the Rouiba plant. He also knows that renewables are still and for long an extra, and that alone they do not solve the equation energy.

Is this a more reasonable way to not sacrifice the old for the new, at the risk of losing both the old and the new? What about the issue of unconventional fossil fuels for Algeria? In light of future developments and the ever-growing role of gas in the world energy mix, COP 21 and others, the issue should no longer be back-burned, as the risk for Algeria to lose market, particularly in Europe, because of the depletion of our conventional gas deposits – that some people purposely try to keep buried - is of concern to all of us, even if it is already so for ages.

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