COP 28 Insight: Rym Loucif on Algeria’s Clean Energy Odyssey

With Suzan Taha

As COP 28 continues to unfold, LegalcommunityMENA delves into Algeria’s pivotal contributions to the global discourse on climate action.  

In this exclusive interview with Rym Loucif (pictured), the visionary founder of Loucif + Co, who brings a wealth of experience gleaned from her tenures with prestigious law firms in Paris and Algiers, we explore Algeria’s vast solar potential, with a focus on the legal intricacies of clean energy projects, and the country’s commitments on the international stage.  

How does Algeria’s vast solar potential, especially in the Sahara regions, contribute to the country’s clean energy goals, and what role might this play in discussions at COP 28? 

Algeria’s expansive solar potential, particularly in the Sahara regions, is pivotal in achieving the nation’s clean energy objectives. Encompassing 2.382 million square meters with one of the world’s highest solar irradiation rates, southern Algeria hosts most of the photovoltaic solar plants. This abundant solar resource significantly contributes to Algeria’s clean energy ambitions, positioning it as a key player in the global transition to renewable energy. In the context of COP 28, discussions are likely to spotlight Algeria’s great potential to utilize solar energy for a cleaner and greener future. 

Can you provide insights into Algeria’s significant potential in clean energy, especially in the context of the National Plan for Green Hydrogen, and how the legal community is contributing to its development? 

Algeria’s National Plan for Green Hydrogen, recently unveiled, aims to position the country as a major player in the hydrogen market. The plan envisions producing and exporting substantial hydrogen quantities, meeting almost 10% of Europe’s demand by 2040. This strategic initiative, unfolding in three phases, underscores Algeria’s commitment to clean energy and climate goals. Legal professionals contribute by ensuring a supportive legal framework, a critical element in realizing the ambitious hydrogen roadmap. 

Considering the recent establishment of a national committee for green and blue hydrogen, how might Algeria’s strategies align with the goals discussed at COP 28 related to sustainable energy transitions? 

The establishment of a national committee for green and blue hydrogen signifies Algeria’s strategic commitment to sustainable energy transitions. This aligns seamlessly with the overarching goals discussed at COP 28. Algeria’s proactive stance in exploring green and blue hydrogen technologies positions it as a contributor to global dialogues on sustainable energy transitions, showcasing a commitment that resonates with the broader objectives of COP 28. 

Can you shed light on Algeria’s international commitments in combating climate change, particularly its ratified agreements like the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement, and the relevance of these commitments at COP 28? 

Algeria, in its dedication to combating climate change, has ratified key international agreements, including the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement. These commitments serve as a cornerstone in Algeria’s approach to environmental stewardship and will undoubtedly be a relevant and prominent topic at COP 28. The country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 with differentiated objectives based on financing availability, exemplifies Algeria’s alignment with global initiatives discussed at COP 28, reinforcing its commitment to a sustainable future. 

Could you provide insights into the major clean energy projects underway in Algeria, such as the Sonelgaz-RE solar photovoltaic energy project and the 

construction of solar plants in the southern region, and what legal aspects or challenges do legal professionals face in executing these projects? 

Algeria is currently advancing notable clean energy projects, including the Sonelgaz-RE solar photovoltaic energy initiative. This project, recently awarding contracts for a 2000 MW solar capacity, spans fifteen plants across twelve wilayas, showcasing the nation’s commitment to renewable energy. Simultaneously, a separate tender has been initiated for the construction of five solar plants in southern Algeria, totalling 1000 MW capacity. 

Legal professionals navigate challenges related to project development, land acquisition, and ensuring adherence to environmental standards. The complexity of these legal considerations is a critical aspect that legal experts must address in facilitating the seamless implementation of such clean energy ventures, underscoring the necessity for a robust legal framework to support Algeria’s ambitious clean energy initiatives. 

The National Adaptation Plan to Climate Change in Algeria recently secured financial support from the Green Climate Fund. How is the country contributing to the successful execution of such plans, and how might this be a topic of discussion at COP 28? 

Algeria, in a significant stride toward climate resilience, has secured financial backing from the Green Climate Fund for its National Adaptation Plan to Climate Change. This plan, embedded within the broader National Climate Plan for the 2020-2030 period, underscores Algeria’s dedication to mitigating climate impacts and adapting to environmental changes. With a focus on emission reduction and climate adaptation, the plan addresses critical areas, from sustainable agriculture to governance. 

The financial support secured through the Green Climate Fund, facilitated by the UNDP, reflects the global recognition of Algeria’s efforts in climate change mitigation. As the nation moves forward with the execution of the National Adaptation Plan, it contributes substantively to the broader conversations at COP 28, emphasizing the importance of international collaboration and support in addressing the impacts of climate change. 

About Rym Loucif  

Rym Loucif, founder of Loucif + Co, boasts a rich legal background cultivated through her tenure with esteemed US law firms in Paris and renowned French law firms in Algiers. With over a decade of experience based in Algeria, she has become a leading expert in Algerian business law, specializing in guiding foreign investors through the intricacies of local regulations.  

Loucif’s nuanced understanding of the Algerian business landscape, coupled with her global perspective, enables her to deliver bespoke advice tailored to the practicalities on the ground. Her focus encompasses cross-border mergers, acquisitions, joint-ventures, competition law, and energy-related matters, representing top international groups. 

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