Tunisia has secured USD 131.7 Mn funding for its ambitious smart electrification project from French Development Agency.
The Tunisian parliament approved the loan request this week and the government is expected to repay it within twenty years.
The project is part of a plan to establish a strategy of energy switching which is aimed at lowering costs and improving the order of operations.
The smart grid which was first announced in March 2017 by Tunisian Company of Electricity and Gas (STEG) failed to be implemented earlier due to financial constraints.
The smart grid which is expected to connect the whole country by 2023 aims to generally increase efficiency in power management: improve accuracy of electric bill charges, decrease electricity theft, improve the integrity of power suppliers and further promote competition in the sector.
“The smart grid will change the face of the energy system towards the use of renewable energies,” said Tunisian Industry Minister Slim Feriani.
STEG has been forced to take stern action to avoid making further losses from unpaid bills. The company has reportedly had a rough time pushing consumers as well as government institutions to pay their bills. The smart grid is however expected to bring an end to the financial bleeding as a result of debts reaching USD 329 Mn since 2011.
According to experts, the smart grids unlike the traditional grids have advanced infrastructure for measuring electricity consumption and for communication between the power plant and consumers.
Reports indicate STEG plans to implement the plan in phases and the first phase will be implemented using the AFD loan. This initial phase involves setting up of control and communication stations as well as the installation of about 430,000 “intelligent” meters in the Sfax governorate, home to about 330,000 people.
The second phase of the project is planned to extend the programme to the other parts of the country.
Through the the smart grid project, Tunisia hopes to further the national goal of getting thirty percent of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025.
Featured Image Courtesy: Smart Energy International