TuNur Limited has filed its request for authorization with the Tunisian Ministry of Energy, Mines and Renewable Energy for a 4.5 GW solar export project.
A newly established solar complex in the Sahara Desert in Southwest Tunisia, near Réjim Maâtoug (Kébili Governorate) would supply the European market for carbon-free electricity, and stimulate economic development in the interior region of the country.
The project includes programs for local development and Tunisian industrial participation in the supply chain. Part of the production will be available for local and national consumption, at the option of the Tunisian government.
The project is part of the solution to Europe’s challenges in the energy sector: meeting the Paris Climate Agreement emissions reduction targets, replacing obsolete fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels, and meeting the expected surge in electricity demand from electric vehicles.
The carbon free electricity delivered by TuNur would be sufficient to power over 5 million European homes or fuel over 7 million electric vehicles.
Three HVDC submarine cables systems are under development, which will allow the transport of power to Europe with low losses. The first cable links Tunisia and Malta, as Malta is already connected to the European grid. The second cable system will link Tunisia to central Italy, with a shoring point North of Rome. This second cable system has been under development for several years and is currently being evaluated as a Project of Common Interest by the European Community. A third cable is under study and will link Tunisia directly to the South of France.
According to Kevin Sara, CEO of TuNur “The economics of the project are compelling: the site in the Sahara receives twice as much solar energy compared to sites in central Europe, thus, for the same investment, we can produce twice as much electricity. In a subsidy-free world, we will always be a low cost producer, even when transmission costs are factored in.”
Mohamed Larbi Ben Said, chairman of the El Ghrib Collective Lands Management Board, which owns the land that TuNur will lease for the project, adds: “This project provides the economic development necessary for our region and our community; it gives true value to quasi-desert lands in an environmentally sustainable way. We are very pleased to contribute to this important Tunisian project in the field of sustainable development”