Government plans to install 300 MW of wind power

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The Tunisian Ministry of Industry and Energy has announced its intention to install 300 MW of wind power between now and 2011. The first 100 MW is to be completed by 2006 and it will be inviting companies to tender for the capacity in the first quarter of this year. Applicants are being asked to demonstrate the technical soundness of their bids and provide financial references for their projects. As a preliminary step the ministry has asked for expressions of interest from companies and consortia. The national utility, Société Tunisienne d'Electricité et de Gaz, already operates a 20 MW wind plant of Spanish Made turbines, the second phase of which was completed last year, consisting of 32, 330 kW units, ten at 660 kW and one each at 800 kW and 1.32 MW. "The wind resources are essentially near the coast and to some extent scattered elsewhere," explains Ameur Bchir of Groupe IPP, the branch of the ministry in charge of the call for tenders. "At present 95% of Tunisia's electricity comes from gas produced at home and imported from Algeria. It is not a finite resource and we have to think ahead. The government has developed a strategy to develop wind energy to reach its maximum potential." Canadian wind power consultancy Hélimax Energie Inc. has been working on wind projects in Tunisia for four years and assisting the government in the development of the industry. In 2000 it began a survey of the country's wind resources and has carried out assessments of the financial and economic conditions.

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