Renewable energy in Tunisia
Tunisia has significant potential for renewable energy, particularly wind and solar power. However, the country is still heavily dependent on fossil gas for electricity generation and is currently facing an energy crisis. The Tunisian Solar Plan foresees a share of renewable electricity of 35% and an installed capacity of 4GW by 2030.
In 2021, Tunisia had achieved only 400 MW, with the majority stemming from wind power and smaller amounts in solar and Hydropower.
Up to 2000, Tunisia was mostly self-sufficient when it came to energy. It was only after the fossil reserves of fossil fuels started to run dry that the country had to up its import. The amounts and the money spent on imports have been rising, posing a significant motivating factor in Tunisia’s path of regaining energy independence. Tunisia plans to invest US$294m per year in renewable development to expand its renewable production by 500 MW annually.
Luckily the country has enormous potential. A study found a possibility of 840GW of PV potential and 1000GW of CSP (concentrated solar power). The country is now working on using this potential and has five solar parks at an advanced stage of development, which after their completion in 2023, will amount to 500MW.
But there is also a promising prospect for wind energy. The Tunisian Company for Electricity and Gas is currently building four new wind parks that are set to start operations in 2024 and will produce 500MW. Also, companies from Germany, the Netherlands, and France have received licenses to build On-shore wind parks. International tenders like the one for the wind parks are a major strategy in Tunisia’s deployment of renewable sources. This means that licenses for renewable capacities were issued to foreign companies. In March 2022, 500MW went to 3 companies from around the world. A new tender for 2GW was launched in June 2022.
Tunisia’s final goal its reach 21GW by 2050, covering 80% of its demand from renewable sources.
Tunisia has potential for renewable hydrogen production but the country does not yet have the legal, regulatory, technical and human resources to do it. There is no hydrogen strategy yet and the country has to address its current energy crisis. Still some pilot projects are been launched.For example, TunUr, a former Desertec partner, has a pilot project in the south of Tunisia to produce renewable ammonia for local industrial consumers.