Algeria Looks To The Sun For Power

The population of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria  is approximately 43.85 million people[1]. In 2018, 100% of the people in this North African country had access to electricity[2].

Algeria’s economy is ranked 14th on gross domestic product (GDP) among the fourteen countries in the Middle East and North Africa region[3]. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on the export of oil and natural gas.

In 2016, Algeria’s national utility, Sonelgaz used natural gas (92.4%), oil (6.5%) and renewable energy (1.1%) to generate electricity in the country[4]. Hydropower was the primary source of renewable energy in 2016 in Algeria.

In 2016, Algeria signed the Paris Climate Agreement and committed to an unconditional 7% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to business as usual[5]. Algeria’s government also committed up to a 22% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, subject to international financial and technical assistance.

The government’s vision is to replace the use of oil and natural gas with renewable energy to generate all electricity in Algeria. The county’s energy strategy is to increase solar photovoltaic power capacity from the 390 MW in 2020 to 13,600 MW by 2030.

Algeria will soon launch two new solar power projects, which will have a total capacity of 1,000 MW, according to the Minister of Energy Transition and Renewable Energies, Chems Eddine Chitour. It takes 53 Billion Cubic Feet (BCF) of natural gas to generate the equivalent amount of electricity, as 1,000 MW of solar power in Algeria.

Why is Algeria moving away from natural gas and oil to generate electricity in the country? Economics, pure and simple. Cutting Algeria’s domestic consumption of 53 BCF of natural gas per year, means the country can sell that natural gas on the open market for approximately US $200 million per year.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


[1] Algeria Population (2020) –  September 14, 2020

[2] Algeria – The World Bank Group

[3] The Heritage Foundation – Algeria

[4] Algeria Energy Situation – Energypedia

[5] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges

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