Sunday, June 23, 2024

Tunisia’s photo voltaic ambitions, by Aïda Delpuech & Arianna Poletti (Le Monde diplomatique

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Sunny skies: Dar Wan farm now makes use of photo voltaic vitality for irrigation, Morocco, October 2016

Philippe Petit · Paris Match · Getty

We have been within the Tunisian Sahara, on the highway to Rjim Maatoug. On the Algerian border, oil tankers connecting the area’s numerous deposits perpetually criss-crossed. Below navy rule because the Nineteen Eighties, this lunar panorama dotted with clumps of palm timber might quickly commerce its black gold for the promise of inexperienced vitality. The Tunisian-British partnership TuNur hopes to construct one of many world’s largest thermodynamic photo voltaic crops right here, on collective lands as soon as house to nomadic teams.

‘Wind and photo voltaic vitality are infinite, and Tunisia has each in abundance,’ says the corporate, whose goal is to supply 4.5 GWh of electrical energy for export to Italy, France and Malta. The megaproject, deemed unrealistic by some observers, could get a lift from the present vitality disaster. When the struggle in Ukraine started two years in the past, European vitality markets immediately needed to restructure; the southern Mediterranean, shut and resource-rich, started to beckon.

Nations corresponding to Morocco, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are jockeying to be the following vitality hub. And whereas the disaster has introduced North African international locations like Algeria many suitors, pure fuel isn’t the one draw. With persistently excessive oil costs and mounting provide challenges, Europe has pragmatically tried to hurry its transition to lower-cost renewables ‒ by outsourcing. It covets the bountiful daylight of its southernmost Mediterranean neighbours whose photo voltaic potential is among the many highest on the planet.

‘Africa will certainly be Europe’s most important companion in creating renewable vitality,’ predicted Frans Timmermans, then European Commissioner for Local weather Motion, throughout the January 2023 Worldwide Renewable Power Company (IRENA) convention in Abu Dhabi. His assertion echoed commitments made as a part of the European Inexperienced Deal accomplished in 2020. Late final 12 months, throughout COP28 in Dubai, Maroš Šefčovič, govt vice-president of the European Fee for the European Inexperienced Deal, introduced an funding of greater than $21.5bn within the (…)

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