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Higher use of wind energy has been declared a primary goal of Tunisia’s energy development programme since 2001.
Framework Conditions for Wind Energy: Political Goals
In the framework of the 10th development plan, the Tunisian government has committed itself to the construction of 120 MW until 2007. This aim has not been reached until 2009. Beyond that, the 11th development plan (covering the period of 2008 – 2011) aims at an additional installation of 200 MW by private investors on a purely competitive basis. The implementation of the 11th plan is supported by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Project "Private Sector Led Development of On-Grid Wind Power in Tunisia" which is being executed by the National Agency for Energy Management (ANME). The planned construction is to be supported by production-dependent financial assistance in the first five years of operation. Based on avoided costs of 0.037 Tunesian Dollars (TND) / kWh and 35 % availability of the wind farm, at present the additional costs are estimated at two to three US cents per kWh, about a quarter of which are to be covered by GEF funds.
Several organisations conducted, financed or promoted measurements to find possible sites for wind farms in Tunisia:
- Tunisian Society for Electricity and Gas (Société Tunisenne d'Electicité et du Gaz - STEG)
- German Society for International Cooperation (Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ)
- Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (Agencia Espanola de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarollo - AECID)
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Further, GIZ is supporting ANME in promoting the application of renewable energies in Tunisia within a project running from 2003 to 2012 by means of improving the terms for private sector involvement and developing financing instruments .
ANME sets the following targets for the installation of wind power:
- 200 MW by 2011
- 1100 MW by 2020
- 1800 MW by 2030
The threshold that limits the development goals of wind energy by 2011 is defined by the capability of wind power integration into the Tunisian grid, which according to STEG amounts to 200 MW only. To address grid-related issues, interconnections of the Tunisian power grid to the grids of Algeria, Libya and European countries are planned.
In April 2009, plans to connect the Tunisian power grid to the Italian grid have been jointly presented by the Tunisian Minister of Energy and the Italian Ministry of the Environment. These plans will be promoted by the Mediterranean Centre of Renewable Energies (MEDREC), established by the Italian ministry of the environment and the Tunisian ministries of energy and environment, in cooperation with the United Nations Energy Program (UNEP) in 2004. Technically, a 400 kV (1 000 MW) sea cable should link the Tunisian and the Italian grid.
Preparations are also being made to encourage large-scale industrial consumers (IGCElec) to use wind energy to produce their own electricity. The corresponding legislation is being developed to grant the right of selling any surplus power to STEG at a fixed tariff (TND 0.08 / kWh or € 0.044 / kWh). The energy sold is limited to 30 % of the annual production of the respective wind park.
Further, ANME is running a program to support IGCElec with:
- Preliminary evaluation of the sites
- Installation of the measurement masts and collection of the wind data
- Mobilization of experts
- Giving technical support to implement studies
- Capacity building of IGCE in the field of wind energy and CDM (support to Project Idea Note, Project Design Document and promotion at international level).
All RE installations are eligible for accessing the grid for feed-in and transmission for auto-production purposes. Transmission fees are set by the Ministry of Energy; excess electricity not consumed by the producer may be sold exclusively to STEG receiving the standard high voltage electricity tariff set by the utility. However, feed-in of excess electricity is limited to 30 % of the annual production of the wind park. Additionally, a programme was introduced by the Ministry for Energy (no. eight of the eight programmes in the field of energy) supporting the auto-production of electricity through renewable energies aiming at households and enterprises.
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Wind Energy Potential
Regions with high wind energy potential can mainly be found in the northern part of Tunisia, but also in central and southern regions. In northern and north-eastern areas, wind measurements revealed wind speeds between 7 and 10 m/s.
For example, at the Jebel Sidi Abderrahmane location in the region of Cap Bon (the peninsula in the Northwest of Tunesia close to L’Ariana), where STEG measured average wind speeds of over 10 m/s at a height of 45 m. In the region of Bizerte and Nabeul (on the southern coast of the peninsula in the Northwest of Tunesia) as well as in the central area and the Kaserine south (Tataouine, Medenine, Gabes) wind speeds exceed 7 m /sec at 60 m height (e.g. at Metline (on the northern coast close to Bizerte) with an average of 9 m /s at a height of 30 m).
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- ↑ GEF/UNDP (2007) Tunisia: Private Sector Led Development of On-Grid Wind Power in Tunisia.  Retrieved 2011-05-28
- ↑ GIZ (2007) Promotion of renewable energies and energy efficiency  Retrieved 2011-05-30
- ↑ Dodd (2008) Tunisia looks to wind in face of power deficit and rising fuel costs, in: Windpower Monthly, March 2008.
- ↑ GIZ (2009) Energy-policy Framework ConditionsfckLRfor Electricity Markets and Renewable Energies - 16 Country Analyses, Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit, Eschborn: Germany.