Maghreb energy ministers commit to electricity market integration in meeting with EU21-06-2010
Energy Ministers from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia have met in Algiers with EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger to accelerate the process of integration of electricity markets in the Maghreb, as the first step towards the full integration of these markets with the European market.
“It’s very important that the three countries of the Maghreb have today in Algiers strongly reaffirmed their common desire to create a Maghreb electricity market with the perspective of integration with the European market,” Oettinger said after the meeting on Sunday. “It is a very positive signal for our energy cooperation with these countries, which has every chance of becoming the basis for a strategic partnership.”
A Ministerial Declaration was signed confirming the common objective of integration of electricity markets and setting out a concrete action plan for the coming years, as well as the principle of annual ministerial meetings to assess the progress made.
According to a press release from the European Commission, the countries of the Maghreb are making major investments in the sector in response to a sharp rise in demand, with a new momentum towards integration of their markets, which would allow the transfer of electricity from country to country. Such a process encourages investment in the sector, especially in the area of renewable energies, such national solar plans, as well as private initiatives such as DESERTEC, which aims to produce solar energy from Morocco to Saudi Arabia, feeding through an interconnected regional grid as well as underwater cables to Europe.
The integration of energy markets is a major priority of Euro-Mediterranean cooperation. Towards this end, the EU funds a number of interconnecting Mediterranean energy projects, funded under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI):
- MED-REG II - Energy regulators: Supports the development of a modern and efficient energy regulatory framework in the Mediterranean Partner Countries and strengthens their cooperation with EU energy regulators - http://medreg.ipi.it/
- MED-EMIP - energy cooperation: A platform for energy policy dialogue and exchange of experiences, leading to enhanced Euro-Med cooperation, integration of the energy markets and improved security and sustainability - http://www.medemip.eu/
- MED-ENEC II - Energy efficiency in construction: Encourages energy efficiency and the use of solar energy in the construction sector, through capacity building, fiscal and economic instruments and pilot projects - http://www.med-enec.com/
- Electricity market integration: Supports the development of an integrated electricity market between Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia and between these three Maghreb countries and the EU, through the harmonization of their legislative and regulatory framework - http://www.enpi-info.eu/mainmed.php?id=25&id_type=10
The Mediterranean Solar Plan aims to meet the major energy and climate challenges confronting the Mediterranean region and the European Union in the coming decades. It is one of six key initiatives of the Union for the Mediterranean. (ENPI Info Centre)
DG Energy – the Mediterranean
ENPI Info Centre webpage – energy
ENPI Info Centre press pack – the Mediterranean Solar Plan