Tunisia has pledged US$2.9 billion (Dh10.64bn) of investment in solar energy projects in the next six years, joining Morocco and Egypt in the vanguard of North Africa's renewable power movement.
"This amount is allocated to fund 40 solar energy prjects to be achieved between 2010 and 2016," said Abdul Aziz Rassaa, the secretary of state for energy at the Tunisian ministry of industry, according to the official
Tunisia News Agency
The statement closely follows yesterday's
that the French power and rail group
and the US solar power developer
had formed a business partnership to build solar thermal power plants, especially in the "Mediterranean Ring" and Africa.
The press release gave no details of where the companies would start building power plants or the scale of their plans. But given Alstom's involvement, North Africa seems the likely target. The group already has offices in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.
Earlier this month, Alstom agreed to develop a
national energy management system for Egypt
, incorporating software to improve grid reliability and efficiency and to manage interconnections with Libya and Syria through Jordan.
For its part, BrightSource has a solar energy development centre in Israel's Negev Desert, a country in which Alstom is also active.
The new partnership may be hoping that ensuring a bright future for solar power is one issue on which Israel and its Arab neighbours can agree.