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Prepared by the Country Representative for Tunesia Adel Hamroun contact.


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Until the middle of the Eighties, Tunisia has enjoyed a favourable energy situation characterized by a largely surplus energy balance. Thus, the energy sector played during this period a key role in financing the economic growth of the country, representing in 1980 approximately 13 % of the national GDP and 16 % of the national exports.

However, since the end of the Eighties, this favourable situation started to deteriorate under the join effect of two major factors:

Thus, the energy balance moved from a surplus situation of approximately 3 Mtoe in the beginning of the Eighties to a slightly deficit situation starting early year 2000. The contribution of the energy sector in the economic growth has been decreasing since 1986. Currently, the energy sector accounts for approximately 5 % of the GDP of the country and less than 7 % of the total national exports. The figure hereafter summarises the evolution of the energy balance during the two last decades.

ln order to address this situation, the Tunisian authorities have engaged an energy policy that is compatible with sustainable development which main components are:

The concerns related to improving the energy balance has also led the public authorities to set in October 2000 a National Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies Commission whose missions included in particular the drawing up of a national programme aimed at rationalising energy consumption and promoting renewable energies.
This programme comprises two types of actions: a set of priority actions to be undertaken on the very short term, and a set of actions to be undertaken under a medium term programme.

The short-term programme relies on some twenty presidential decisions announced in May 2001, which attests to the government's determination to engage fully in favour of a rational use of energy and of the development of renewable energies.
These decisions have related to:

As for medium term programme, its objectives include in particular: large-scale dissemination of solar water heaters, optimisation of rural electrification based on photovoltaic systems and development of wind energy for electric power generation.

ln order to ensure a consistent and sustainable energy policy, Tunisia undertook to conduct a strategic study on the development of renewable energies. This study, which was completed in April 2004, led to drawing up an Action Plan for developing the whole range of sectors at horizon 2011, as well as to setting out strategic options for each sector for the three coming decades.

Institutional and regulatory framework for renewable energies

Tunisia has provided, since the early 1980s, an appropriate institutional framework for the promotion of energy efficiency and, more particularly, of renewable energies. The institutional set up is based on the establishment of the National Agency for Energy Conservation (ANME), which is the core component of this institutional set up, as well as the creation of several bodies assigned to the implementation of the energy efficiency policy.

Besides the public institutions directly or indirectly involved in the field of renewable energies, several other actors bring in their contribution, particularly NGOs and the private sector.

As regards public institutions, the major actors are:

Wind Energy situation and prospects

ln the absence of precise wind atlas, it is difficult to evaluate in a certain way the technical potential of the wind power in Tunisia. The STEG and the ANME, however, undertook some studies within the framework of the prospection of sites that can be developed for the electric generation.

The "On Shore" wind potential in Tunisia is estimated, referring to preliminary studies, to 1000 MW with an average producible energy about 3 MWh per year and by kW installed.
Summary studies were carried out on about fifteen sites among which five, located in north and the Northeast, were the subject of evaluation studies. These studies showed the existence of a potential about 300 MW with annual average velocities of wind between 7 to 10 m/s.

ln Tunisia, the wind energy sector enjoys considerable interest. STEG (Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company) undertook, on its part, to construct its first 10 MW wind energy plant in Sidi Daoud on the northern coast of Cap Bon. Commissioned in 2001, this plant was stepped up to about 20 MW in 2003.

Tunisia has also started to open up electric power production to the private sector by virtue of Law N° 96-27, dated April 1st 1996, which authorises the State to grant electricity production licences to independent producers with a view to its exclusive sale to STEG.

The conditions and modes of granting the licence are stipulated in Decree n° 96-1125, dated 20 June 1996. Tunisia has thus undertaken, first of all, to adapt the legal and institutional framework to this option. The latter option has entered into force with the construction of the IPP type plants (Independent Power Production) of Radès and of El Bibane.

Moreover, Tunisia benefited in 2001, via the National Agency for Energy Efficiency (ANME), from a preliminary assistance extended by international cooperation for national capacity building in the field of wind energy. This assistance was aimed in particular at lifting the barriers and removing the constraints to be identified with a view to creating a competitive wind energy market, and this by installing wind data measurement stations if) sites located in various regions of the country, the conducting of technical and economic feasibility studies for the implementation of wind energy projects in Tunisia, as well as the training of technicians at national and regional level in this field.

Furthermore, and with a view to giving concrete expression to the interest shown by the public authorities in matter of development of wind energy in Tunisia, a comprehensive and integrated national programme has been developed in this respect. This programme, to be implemented in the period 2004-2011 under the form of a production licence and based on a tender, involves about 300 MW of which 100 MW in the first phase.

ln the context of the 100 MW project, Tunisia has recently obtained a financing agreement by GEF/UNDP (Global Environment Fund United Nations Development Programme) intended to cover part (about a third) of the cost overrun (over- cost) induced by this project. More details: and

The wind energy sector, though still presenting a cost overrun with respect to conventional power plants, seems to be today as the closest solution to economic competitiveness for power production. ln addition, it emerges, with in the power production sector, as the most promising medium term means to combat climate change (thus complementing the combine gas cycle plants as regards fossil based production). It is expect- ed that this sector will be more competitive in the coming years due to the decrease in costs induced by technical progress and the effects of economy of scale.

Industrial / and commercial fabric of the wind energy sector

In the wind energy sector, the Tunisian industry is capable of providing certain project components such as electrical control panels and cabling, transformers and, possibly, towers, and this, in addition to the whole range of civil engineering and site development. Indeed, for the STEG 20 MW project, the rate of local integration has been as high as 30 %. This rate is likely to increase considerably in case of relocation of certain Industries to Tunisia for the manufacture of certain noble parts of the machine (carriage, rotor), obviously in the case of development of the local, if not regional, market.

As regards consultancies, there are private sector competencies that have started to operate in partnership with international consultants and foreign investors. ln addition, the wind energy plants constructed by STEG, as weIl as the capacity building actions of which ANME has benefited, have made it possible to acquire a know-how in this field.

For more information about Tunisian industry:


Based on the evaluations of the wind energy potential in Tunisia, the strategic study on renewable energies reveals that, according to a conservative scenario of wind energy development, the capacities installed should reach 310 MW in 2010; 1130 MW in 2020; and 1840  MW in 2030.

This scenario allows a significant development with a more gradual rise in investments.
According to this scenario, the power production based on wind energy would be around 2,8 TWh in 2020 and 4,6 TWh in 2030. The primary energy saved per year would be of 0,7 Mtoe in 2020 and of 1,2 Mtoe in 2030.

The CO2 emissions annually avoided would be of 1,5 million tons in 2020 and 2,8 million tons in 2030.

In aggregate terms, the primary energy saved would be in the order of 0,9 Mtoe in 2010, 5,5 Mtoe in 2020 and 16 Mtoe in 2030.

The aggregate reduction of emissions would be of about 2 MTe CO2 in 2010; 13 Mte CO2 in 2020; and 37 MTe CO2 in 2030.

Recent Events

On January 26, 2004, the Tunisian Ministry for Industry and Energy and the "Agence Nationale des Energies Renouvelables" signed a Memorandum of Understanding for establishing a centre for training, information dissemination, networking and development of pilot projects in the field of renewable energies (MEDREC) in Tunis:

Recent studies


Wind data



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