Engie and Sonatrach officialize partnership for solar and renewables.

The French group and the Algerian gas and power provider will team up in the areas of solar PV technology and energy efficiency. Sonatrach is also the state-owned entity responsible for the implementation of Algeria’s solar and renewable energy targets, and for the launch of the long-expected 4 GW auction for PV.

French energy group Engie has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Algeria’s state-owned oil and gas provider Sonatrach to cooperate in the fields of solar energy and energy efficiency.

In a statement to pv magazine, the French group said that the MoU focuses on photovoltaic solar energy, the energy efficiency of technical installations and the valorization of flared gas, and that it will value the complementary relation of natural gas, renewable energies and energy efficiency in the frame of a sustainable energy model. Furthermore, the agreement defines the terms of collaboration between ENGIE and Sonatrach to implement a study on the solarization of compressor stations and the valorization of flared gas, and a joint skill sharing program, which will relate to solar technology and energy efficiency.

Engie, which has been active in the Algerian power and gas sector over the past 50 years, had begun to show interest in the local solar energy sector in April of last year, when an announced 4 GW tender for solar was said to be forthcoming. At the time, the company’s general director Isabelle Kocher met with the country’s minister of energy Noureddine Boutarfa to discuss details about the tender.

Sonatrach, on the other hand, was tasked by the Algerian government to manage the entire process for the tender. The company was also said to have a 40% stake in all of the special purpose companies, which had to own the PV projects selected in the tender.

The contest, however, was repeatedly delayed by the Algerian government. In July, the country’s new minister for renewable energy Fatma Zohra Zerouat said that a special committee for the tender was to be established, and that the results of the review will be published, together with her new action plan for renewables.

Engie is operating in the PV sector through its subsidiaries Compagnie du Vent, Solairedirect, Engie Green and La Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR). The group is targeting the installation of approximately 2.2 GW of PV by 2021.

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