Algeria’s Minister of Energy and Mines Yousef Yousfi pledged on 22 March that the country would suffer no power cuts this summer. He said that an additional 2.8gw of electricity could be generated compared with 2012. Official news agency Algeria Press Service (APS) said power outages in Southeast Algeria last summer – which triggered violent protests – were a result of delays in commissioning two high voltage transmission lines. Also, Sonelgaz pointed to unprecedented demand and a number of power plants returning late from maintenance, which reduced availability to 83% of installed capacity.

Mr Yousfi estimated Algeria’s total electricity generating capacity at 11.39gw at the end of 2011, of which 8.50gw was operated by state generator Sonelgaz and 2.89gw by independent generators. He did not detail the sources of the additional electricity for this year. However, the bulk of the incremental supply will come from two 1.2gw combined-cycle gas-fired power plants brought on-line by Sonelgaz in 2012: Terga, built by France’s Alstom; and El Tarf, built by Spain’s Iberdrola and US firm General Electric. The Algerian government last year announced a plan to raise generating capacity by 12gw by end-2016. Sonelgaz awarded a $1.06bn contract to a South Korean consortium to build a 1.2gw power plant at ‘Ain Arnat, scheduled for completion in 2016 (MEES, 30 November 2012). Earlier, Sonelgaz issued a tender for four gas-fired plants in remote areas with a combined capacity of 175mw and awarded South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering and Construction a contract to build a 1.2gw combined cycle plant at Ras Djinet, with start-up expected in December 2015 (MEES, 27 August 2012). (CONTINUED - 258 WORDS)