Tunisian government starts bidding process for 300 MW

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Tunisia's Ministry of Industry is next month expected to start the bidding process for a further 300 MW of wind power capacity to be installed by 2011, the first 100 MW before 2006. The success of the country's first wind farm, a 20 MW project brought online last year by national utility the Société Tunisienne d'Electricité et de Gaz has encouraged the government to think big about the country's wind potential. "The wind resources are essentially near the coast and to some extent scattered elsewhere," says 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 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 consultant Hélimax Energie Inc has been working on wind projects in Tunisia for the last four years and assisting the Tunisian government in the development of a market. In 2000 it began a survey of the country's wind resources and has since carried out assessments of the financial and economic conditions.

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