Three international businesses have been granted licenses to produce 500 MW of renewable energy in Tunisia, a government official said on Wednesday.
The projects involved are worth 1,200 million Tunisian dinars (US$410.41 million) and are expected to create 200 direct jobs and over 2,000 indirect employments.
According to the official, the companies are Norway’s Scatec, Engie Nareva, and TBEA-AMEA.
Tunisia, which is experiencing a severe financial crisis and political upheaval, is attempting to attract foreign investments in energy projects.
Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Bouden told the conference on Wednesday that producing 500 MW of renewable electricity will allow Tunisia to cut its gas imports by 6% this year and the country plans to seek bids to generate 1,500 MW of renewable energy this year, with an objective of generating 30% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030.
The North African nation currently generates 97% of its electricity from natural gas, with renewable energy accounting for less than 3%. However, given the reduction in natural gas output (-36% from 2010 to 2018), the reliance on this fuel poses a serious threat to electricity generation security.
In order to expedite the diversification of the country's electrical mix, Tunisia's Minister of Industry, Energy, and Mines, Neila Nouira Gongi, announced in February the establishment of a national solar energy strategy. The government plans to build a solar energy system with a capacity of 3,800 megawatts.
According to Gongi, the strategy to generate 3,800 MW of solar energy will boost the share of clean energy in Tunisia's electrical mix by 30%.