Tunisia Turns To Renewables To Counter Volatile Fossil Fuel Prices

National Economy

The population of the Republic of Tunisia is approximately 12.13 million people[1]. In 2020, 100 % of the people in this North African country had access to electricity[2].

In 2021, Tunisia’s economy was ranked 89th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export[4] of insulated wire, pure olive oil, men’s suits, women’s suits, motor vehicle parts, and tropical fruits.

Environmental Policies

In 2016, Tunisia signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], committing to an unconditional 41% reduction in carbon intensity by 2030, compared to 2010 levels.

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2021, the state-owned and independent power companies[6] used natural gas (95.2 %) and renewable energy (4.8 %) to generate electricity in the country. Wind and solar are the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Tunisia.

Recent renewable energy projects in Tunisia include:

  • 800 MW Solar Tender – In January 2023, Tunisia’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Renewable Energy launched a tender for eight 100 MW solar projects in different cities across the nation. All tender proposals must be submitted by May 18, 2023.
  • 300 MW Solar Projects – Norwegian renewable energy company, Scatec is continuing work on three solar projects with a total capacity of 300 MW in the towns of Tatouiane, Sidi Bouzeid, and Tozeur. The three solar projects are forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 240 MW Solar Project – In December 2022, Scatec commissioned the Tataouine Solar PV Park 3 project at a site approximately 250 miles south of nation’s capital, Tunis.
  • 200 MW Solar Tender – In January 2023, Tunisia’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Renewable Energy launched a tender for two 100 MW solar projects in the town of Hecha, in Gabes governorate and the town of Khobna, in Sidi Bouzid governorate. All tender proposals must be submitted by May 18, 2023.
  • 30 MW Onshore Wind Project – French renewable energy company, VSB Energies Nouvelles Sarl is continuing work on the El Batiha Wind project at a site approximately 40 miles northwest of Tunis. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 20 MW Solar Project – French renewable energy company, Qair is continuing work on a solar power plant in central-western Tunisia, approximately 135 miles southwest of Tunis. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 200 kW Floating Solar Project In June 2022, French renewable energy company, Qair commissioned Tunisia’s first floating solar photovoltaic power plant in Tunis.

Conclusions

Tunisia imports refined petroleum and natural gas for transportation and power generation. In 2020, Tunisia spent[7] U.S. $1.03 Billion and  U.S. $131 Million for imported refined petroleum and natural gas, respectively. In 2021, Tunisia imported over 60% of its natural gas.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, resulting in the European Union, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Japan, and South Korea placing embargos on Russian exports. As a result, the price for crude oil and natural gas increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.

Tunisia has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including onshore wind, offshore wind, solar,  and biomass. Volatile fossil fuel prices are causing caused fossil fuel importing nations, like Tunisia to accelerate the development of low-cost renewable energy projects.

Tunisia is turning io renewables to counter volatile oil and natural gas prices.

 

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.

 

 

 

[1] Tunisia Population (2023) –  January 20, 2023, www.worldometers.info

[2] The World Bank Group, Access to Electricity (% of Population) – Tunisia

[3] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2022 – Worldometer

[4] The Observatory of Economic Complexity – Tunisia

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

[6] Our World In Data, Tunisia: Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

[7] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Tunisia  Imports

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