Algeria’s renewable energy development program is “practically a utopia”, according to the state-owned electricity and gas operator, Sonelgaz’s CEO, Noureddine Bouterfa, RenewablesSeeNews reported. Algeria aspires to have 22 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2035, as Minister of Energy, Salah Khebri, informed.

According to Bouterfa, Algeria can realistically add 7 GW of solar thermal capacity and 8 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity to achieve a 10% share of green energy in the electricity mix over the next 20 years. Achieving these re-sized targets will be difficult enough, even if renewable energy supply chain in the country is fully integrated and financing is arranged, which is not the case at the moment, Sonelgaz CEO noted.

Algeria is betting more and more on renewable energy to complement fossil fuels, and to meet the growing energy needs by around 7% per year to 2020, AllAfrica wrote. As part of its strategy, the Algerian government has committed to produce nearly 40% of solar energy from renewable sources within 2030.

According to experts at the Bruegel think tank, the promotion and the reinforcement of partnership between Algeria and the European Union (EU) in the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency is to be the priority of the new plan of energy cooperation.

Meanwhile, Sonelgaz, has been managing a 400 MW program, which is currently being implemented. The energy minister said earlier that 84 MW had already started operation and the rest of the 400 MW are expected to be commissioned by June or July this year, Algerian Renewable Energies Development Center (CDER) reported.

The statement by Sonelgaz CEO was made at the opening of the 5th Symposium of Algerian Gas Industry Association (AIG), held in Algiers.