Cross-border exchanges of electrical energy: results in Algiers in October

Rabah Touileb (Sonelgaz, Algeria)

“Development and integration of Renewable Energies in the Mediterranean region” is the Med-TSO workshop organized by the Technical Committee “International exchanges of electricity” and the Work Group “Economic studies and scenarios” in Algiers (24-25 of October). We asked to Mr. Rabah Touileb (Sonelgaz, Algeria), President of the Technical Committee which are the targets of these two days.

Which is the target of the Technical Committee “International exchanges of electricity” in the framework of the Mediterranean Project and how is this committee related to the other missions of the committees?

The target of the committee within the Mediterranean Project is focused on methodologies, procedures and mechanisms for the sharing of resources through the cross-border exchanges of electrical energy, based on complementarities between networks and the effective use of infrastructures of electrical production, permitted by the interconnection and network capacities. The mission of the committee is complementary to the activities of the other committees (planning and regulatory aspects associated with the electricity transmission grid).

What is the dynamics of the network system in the Mediterranean? Can we improve it?

Networks around the Mediterranean, especially in the South and East parts, have been developed for the satisfaction of the demand of the countries concerned without projection in a market layout with exchanges within the system, due to a system concept vertically integrated for local needs. Considering the existing complementarities between the different grids, if only by the difference of the load curves and holidays, important opportunities of exchanges can be explored. However, in order to improve the dynamics of systems integration, it is necessary to adapt the rules and procedures for the management and operating of the systems with a view to integrating the South – South networks with the South – North interconnection projection.

In fact, the development of exchanges through its transactional aspect requires optimization of the planning and management of systems and working on the basis of rules, mechanisms and procedures that are shared and especially transparent. Also the operation in integrated systems, through the improved coordination of the respective systems, makes it possible for the TSO to exploit the network in a more efficient way. In a longer term, this would contribute to the creation of a regional electricity market and, ultimately, to the reduction of final costs of electricity for consumers. Through the regional integration of networks, the improved network management will permit to:

a)Promote the integration of the RES in the Med-TSO region in general and the exchanges of renewable energy sources North-South (RES) and encourage, in particular, the exchanges South-South on the profitable RES.
b)Promote greater penetration of renewable energies, thus reducing the environmental impact of the production of electricity.
c)Increase energy efficiency due to the integration of the electricity transmission network.
d)Increase safety and reliability of energy.
e)Generate economies of scale in investment.

Could the development of exchanges between networks represent the basis of an effective network system for all countries?

Initiatives such as the Mediterranean Project, through the synergy emerging from the pooling of resources and the common vision of the Mediterranean energy space, and several structuring actions can be initiated and integrated in initiatives similar to the one of the Mediterranean Project committed by Med-TSO, including especially:

The setting up of an initiative and mechanism for the development of electricity networks, which would allow the States, banks, financial institutions and businesses to operate all together, so that the burden of financing and risks can be bearable and shared.

Treating and supporting actions related to the use of renewable energies, whose most important potential lies in the South, as well as the strengthening of electrical interconnections, the access to the electricity market, especially in Europe, must be debated in order to allow a real boom in the industry.

The application of institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks, beyond investment incentives, grants and subsidies, to ensure that the Southern countries have adequate conditions for access to renewable resources without discrimination and for the development of a sustainable industry, creative of wealth and socially and economically profitable.

Building partnerships between industry, universities and research centers, by encouraging interactions between the players in the new sectors and the innovative technological research.

Normative convergence through the upgrading of legislation and technical standards for the development and exploitation of energy systems.

The setting up of schemes and organizing committees focused on rules, interconnections and electricity markets at an Euro-Mediterranean level.

Ordering North – South value chains in the renewable sectors, by setting up high-value segments added to the level of the South shore, with a view to job creation and know-how transfer.

The development of multilateral interconnections through electric corridors between the South and North shores of the Mediterranean and South – South with a view to strengthening the networks and ensure the commercial and safety capacities of the electrical systems.