At the African Smart Grids Summit, held on November 21 and 22, 2018 in Tunis, the Tunisian government announced a call for tenders for the installation of 430,000 smart meters in the Sfax region in the east of the country. It is an important step, as part of the first phase of the national Smart Grids programme, estimated at €91 million.
The African summit on smart grids was held from the 21st to the 22nd of November 2018 at the Mövenpick Hotel, on the banks of the Tunisian capital’s lake. One of the partners of the event, the Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company (Steg), used the opportunity to make a major announcement. “Steg is preparing to launch a call for tenders for the first phase of the Smart Grid programme within the next two months,” said Moncef Harrabi, Steg’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
The first phase of the plan, estimated at 91 million euros, consists of deploying communicating meters in a test area around Sfax (the second-largest city and economic centre in Tunisia, located in the east of the country). Thus, 430,000 new generation meters will be installed, which corresponds to 10% of Tunisian subscribers at the national level. The deployment will take place between 2019 and 2020, and from 2020 onwards the second phase of the plan will start, covering the remaining 90% of meters.
A first phase financed by France
In the aftermath of COP21, held in Paris in 2015, Tunisia was one of many countries in the world to have taken into account in their development policies the urgency of the fight against climate change. Thus, to successfully transition to renewable energies, particularly photovoltaics, the country wanted to modernise its electricity grid and make it more communicative, in order to respond to the intermittency of solar energy and to optimise the use of the energy produced. In 2017, Tunisia launched a major “Smart Grid” project in partnership with France, as part of the 2017-2020 investment plan, with support from the French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energy Commission (CEA).
Under the first phase of the programme, France’s support will take the form of a sovereign loan of €90 million to install these 430,000 metres; a €1 million grant will be added to ensure the smooth running of the project, through its preparation, call for tenders, evaluation of bids, implementation and team training.
The objective of this smart grids programme is to integrate renewable energies into the Tunisian electricity grid, making it possible to support the energy transition and the fight against climate change. In its energy strategy, the country aims to install an additional 1,000 megawatts of photovoltaic power by 2020.