State generator Société Algérienne de Production de l’Electricité (SPE) has awarded a $1.06bn contract to a South Korean consortium to build a 1.2gw power plant at Ain Arnat in northeast Algeria. Daewoo International said on 25 November it would build the plant over a period of 39 months [ie for completion in February 2016] in a consortium with Hyundai Engineering and Hyundai Engineering and Construction. The plant will comprise three 400mw capacity combined cycle gas turbine units. The award follows SPE’s issue of a contract to Daewoo Engineering and Construction for a similar plant at Ras Djinet, east of Algiers, with start-up expected in December 2015.

At the time of the Ras Djinet plant award, SPE also issued tenders for four gas-fired power plants with a combined capacity of 175mw (MEES, 27 August). The awards and the tenders are part of a recently announced Ministry of Energy and Mines plan to raise Algeria’s generating capacity by 12gw by end-2016. Outlining the expansion plan, state electricity and gas utility Société Nationale de l’Electricité et du Gaz (Sonelgaz) said it anticipated demand growth of 12.3% a year between now and 2017. Sonelgaz noted that demand on the grid outstripped supply in August, with record demand of 10.06gw exceeding the 2011 peak by more than 14% . Sonelgaz was forced to undertake load-shedding over the summer, particularly in the southeast, because transmission system capacity has not kept pace with demand growth. The resulting power cuts have led to violent protests. (CONTINUED - 269 WORDS)