Tunisia has taken a long time to move to the use of renewable energy, overtaken in this by many countries, like Morocco, which now has the largest solar power station in the world, while the contribution of alternative energy in the production of electricity in Tunisia barely crosses the 3 percent mark.
Some say that the goal of increasing the share of renewable energy to 30% by 2030 will be difficult to achieve.
A necessity more than a choice!
However, Director General of Electricity and Renewable Energy at the Ministry of Energy, Belhassen Chiboub, says the opposite and believes that Tunisia is able to achieve the goal set in view of the strategy adopted for this purpose.
In a statement to Africanmanager ar, on the sidelines of a Tunisian-German seminar on energy transition, he stressed that renewable energy is no longer a choice but a necessity especially since Tunisia imports 60% of its energy needs.
It will have to absorb the energy deficit, strengthen energy security and contribute to economic recovery in the coming years, he said.
He added that the Ministry of Industry, as part of special authorizations for small projects, has given its agreement in principle for 43 projects, 4 have been already achieved while efforts are underway to address the difficulties on which the other remaining projects stumble.
Meanwhile, Tunisia strives to reduce its imports of gas used for electricity generation by 6%, or a value of 160 million dinars supported by the state budget.
Awareness campaigns, first!
For her part, representative of the German Ministry of Economy and Energy Ellen von Zitzewitz said Tunisia can succeed in achieving the energy transition, recalling that her country has embarked on this experience while the share of renewable energy in the production of electricity was only 6%, to climb and exceed 50% to date.
It has, in this order of ideas, emphasized the priority that must be given to awareness campaigns to achieve 30% of renewable energy during the next decade.
In Tunisia, the supply of energy is an uneconomic system, which, in addition, poorly controls emissions harmful to the climate, according to a German study relayed by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
The current subsidy policy runs counter to incentives for efficient and saving energy use. The investments needed to improve the distribution structure are postponed or take the form of temporary solutions of questionable economic relevance.
Tunisia is 60% dependent on energy imports, and this figure is rising. Improved energy efficiency could lead to a decrease in energy demand and therefore alleviate the country’s energy dependence on imports while reducing climate-damaging emissions. The energy transition proclaimed in 2014 aims at a 34% reduction in energy needs by 2030, lower subsidies, and incentive mechanisms that promote cost-effective and climate-friendly investments.
“Relevant” actors little or not involved!
Electricity and fuel prices have increased several times between 2014 and 2019, raising awareness among policymakers and users of the need to invest in energy efficiency.
While the important orientations and investments decided upon are stimulating the development of renewable energies, energy efficiency objectives are far from being achieved.
In order to succeed in its energy transition and achieve its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the emission reduction targets adopted in 2015, Tunisia must increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix and invest in energy efficiency measures. The latter must contribute to two thirds of the achievement of the NDCs.
Tunisia suffers from a lack of institutional mechanisms and too little involvement of relevant actors, which hinders the implementation of national plans and strategies to increase energy efficiency.
In addition, the Tunisian market for services is still too underdeveloped and the transmission of knowledge too small, especially outside the major urban centers. The national conference on accelerating energy efficiency programs marked a fresh start in April 2018, but the priorities for action have not yet been published.