In 2021, Algeria's electricity consumption primarily leaned towards fossil-based sources. A significant portion of the country's electrical power, about 152 TWh, was generated from fossil fuels, notably gas, which accounted for almost all of this type of energy source. This reliance on fossil fuels for power generation is high compared to the global average power consumption of 410 watts per person and suggests an alarmingly carbon-intensive energy footprint. The high levels of carbon emissions from these sources contribute to climate change and air pollution, which have far-reaching health and environmental impacts.
Algeria has the potential to significantly boost its low-carbon electricity generation by investing in proven clean energy sources. Countries with similar climatic and geographic conditions have successfully implemented sustainable power solutions. For instance, the People's Republic of China and the United States have shown how wind and nuclear power can be combined to provide massive amounts of electricity. With Algeria's vast desert areas apt for solar panel installation, it can learn from China and India, who effectively harness solar power, producing 531 TWh and 119 TWh respectively. Also, following the nuclear success in countries like the United States and France, which generated 776 TWh and 319 TWh respectively from nuclear energy, could help Algeria shift away from its predominant use of fossil fuels.
From the mid-1980s to 2017, hydroelectric power was the main source of low-carbon electricity in Algeria. Changes in electricity generation from this source were marginal, rarely exceeding 0.3 TWh a year. However, from 2017, there has been a shift towards solar power. Notably, in 2017, solar power was added to the country's power mix, adding 0.5 TWh to the grid. By 2021, solar generation had increased, albeit slightly, by 0.2 TWh. This shift is a positive development for the cause of clean energy in the country. However, the pace of change needs to increase as the current levels of low-carbon electricity generation remain significantly low.