Tunisia will join an increasing number of countries to allocate renewable energy projects through competitive auctions when tenders for wind and solar power projects are open later this year.
According to media reports, the Tunisian government will put on the block 70 megawatts of solar and 140 megawatts of wind energy projects in an auction set for November 2017. The auction will mark the first major expansion by the African country in its nascent renewable energy sector.
The government will auction small-scale as well as utility-scale solar power projects. Ten megawatts of capacity is reserved for projects of up to one megawatt in capacity each while the balance of 60 megawatts would be spread over projects of up to 10 megawatts each.
The wind energy capacity on offer will also be distributed into small and large-scale. A total of 20 megawatts of capacity will be offered in the size of up to 5 megawatts each, while 120 megawatts of capacity will be auctioned in project sizes of up to 30 megawatts each.
All projects will sell electricity to the state-owned power utility through long-term power purchase agreements.
The auction will be the first in what is expected to be several renewable energy auctions over the next few years. Tunisia plans to auction 1 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity between 2017 and 2020 in a major push to increase the share of clean energy in its power mix. By 2030, Tunisia plans to achieve 4.7 gigawatts of renewable energy installed.
Tunisia adds to the long list of countries in the Middle East and North Africa region that have large capacities of renewable energy projects in the pipeline. According to the Middle East Solar Industry Association (MESIA), more than 4 gigawatts of solar power capacity is currently at various stages of development in the region.