30 July 2012 – Algeria, which together with Morocco and Egypt is a north African partner in the Desertec initiative, hopes to install 650 MW of solar generation capacity by 2015, and an ambitious 22,000 MW by 2030. Toward the end of 2011, the Algerian national utility Sonelgaz signed a memorandum of understanding with Desertec to export much of that solar output.

North Africa has some of the highest solar radiation energy levels in the world, and at the same time oil and gas production in Algeria shows signs of leveling off. Algeria currently relies on oil and gas for nearly 98% of its export revenue, but a poor institutional environment and investment climate in the country’s oil and gas sector is seeing diminished interest in uptake of investment opportunities. This is in spite of the existence of significant resources.

To ameliorate that and in an attempt to draw back foreign partners, the government and Sonatrach have announced more favourable terms for production requirements and in the related tax code. The amended terms are also intended to encourage unconventional efforts, including shale projects and renewable options.