Tunisia to significantly boost electricity production in coming years
Tunis, November 17, 2008- Tunisia has decided to significantly increase its electricity production by building three new power plants.
With 25 electric plants generating 3300 MW of electricity, the country is readying itself for a 5,4% yearly increase of its domestic consumption up to 2011, with a significant peak of 7,7% when the country's mega projects , Sama Dubai's "Mediterranean Gateway" and "Tunis Sports City", will become operational.
In a recent interview to the official Tunisian Press Agency, TAP, one of Tunisia's 3 new plants was dubbed by the CEO of the Tunisian gas and electricity company (STEG), Mr Othman Ben Arfa, as "Grandiose". It concerns the building by the French group "Alsthom" of a plant using the latest cutting edge 'combined cycle' technology, with a capacity of some 400 MW. The project is an extension of the Ghannouche plant located in the governorate of Gabes. The plant will enable savings of the order of 25 million dinars of fuel.
In addition to these projects, El Haouria, in the Cap Bon area, will be home to another major plant capable of generating 1200 MW. The project which is the fruit of a Tunisian-Italian partnership is expected to be operational by 2014. With 800 MW destined to exported to Sicily, via submarine cables, and 400 MW for domestic consumption, the plant will cover part of the country's growing development needs.
In order to guarantee its rising energy needs, Tunisia has also opted for the use of nuclear energy. One of the country's strategic energetic goals is the building by 2020 of an electro –nuclear plant.
Currently, a work group is studying the project with the assistance of the International Agency of Atomic Energy (IAAE). Several Tunisian engineers are currently training in France under the aegis of the French nuclear energy body.
However, the country is also investing in renewable energies, including wind power and solar energy. Thanks to recent investments carried out in Bizerte, North of the country, Tunisia hopes to boost its wind power capacity to 4% of the country's global electricity production. It is estimated that Tunisia potential in the sector amounts to 1000 MW.
Even if solar energy remains 5 times more expensive than conventional energy, Tunisia has plans to build a solar electricity plant in the south of the country by the end of the country's 11 th plan. In the words of the STEG CEO, it is also tabling on the tremendous research currently carried out in the sector, to curb production costs.
By launching major electricity production plants, with several others in the pipeline, the country is hoping to diversify its sources of energy, in order to give itself the means of its ambitious development.Source: Tunisia Online
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