16 October 2012 – The Algerian government is planning to invest over US$24 billion between 2012 and 2016 to enhance electricity production and distribution in the country, which is experiencing power shortage and outages that have affected business and households. This is according to a report by the North African Post.
Many Algerians are angry over the frequent power cuts in the oil and natural gas producing country. Under the pressure of popular protests staged in various regions of Algeria, the ministry of energy worked has developed an ambitious program that aims to double the country’s electricity production by 2016, adding an additional 12,000 MW of capacity.
Power consumption in Algeria is the highest in North Africa region. Demand for electricity, which went up by 14.5% year-on-year in 2012, is expected to rise to 11,436 MW in 2013 and may reach 20,000 MW by 2017. To meet the rapidly growing demand, the Algerian authorities will build nine new power plants in the next five years, with an estimated total capacity of 8,050 MW.
International tenders have been launched for the construction of four new gas turbine power plants in Tamanrasset (51 MW), Illizi (30 MW), Béni Abbès (34 MW) and in El Goléa (60 MW). A new combined-cycle facility with a 1,200 MW capacity will also be built in the Boumerdès province.
According to some energy experts, these projects require the Algerian authorities to upgrade the power grid, build 300 high voltage substations, 10,000 km of high-voltage transmission lines and 500 km of gas transport networks. It seems that these challenging goals are not beyond the reach of a country which earned around US$70 billion from oil and gas revenues in 2011.