Morocco has issued the long-awaited tender for 850MW spread across five sites as it seeks to attract private-sector investment, achieve its target of 2GW of wind energy online by 2020 and kick-start an industrial sector.
The country currently has 495MW turning, 450MW under construction and more than 500MW under development. With the exception of South Africa, it is possibly the number one emerging market on the continent. "Morocco offers a big internal market and the country can also be a hub for Africa," said Driss Zejli, president of the Moroccan Society for Renewable Energy Development (Smader).
The tender, issued by state utility ONEE, is for the development, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the facilities under a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) contract. ONEE will buy the output for 20 years.
The five sites are located at Tangier (100MW), Essaouira (200MW), Midelt (150MW), Tiskrad (300MW) and Boujdour (100MW). The last two lie within the disputed Western Sahara. The tender also includes an option to supply and maintain turbines for the planned 200MW extension of the Koudia Al Baida wind farm near Tangier.
For the first time in Morocco, bidders must include some element of local manufacture. The most likely components are blades, towers, gears and classical generators, Zejli believes. "Most of the value chain can be built in Morocco," he adds. So far only towers are made locally, with Delattre Levivier Maroc (DLM) able to produce up to 300 towers a year at its new facility near Casablanca.
Also for the first time, the plant will be built under a public-private partnership with ONEE, the Energy Investment Company (SIE) and the Hassan II Fund for Economic & Social Development, all state owned. They will jointly hold a 35% in each of the five project companies.
ONEE, which estimates the total investment at EUR 1.24 billion, said it has already raised EUR385 million and $31 million in concessional finance. The European Investment Bank, KfW and the European Union's Neighbourhood Investment Facility have agreed EUR 200 million, EUR130 million and EUR 15 million respectively for the facilities at Tangier, Essaouira and Midelt. The African Development Bank is also providing EUR40 million towards Tangier, alongside $31 million from the Clean Technology Fund.
Five entities have been invited to bid following a pre-qualification round: Gamesa with ACWA Power of Saudi Arabia; Acciona with Morocco's Al Ajial Funds; Vestas with GDF Suez Energy International; Siemens with Enel Green Power, Morocco's Nareva and Taqa of the United Arab Emirates; and Alstom with EDF Energies Nouvelles and Mitsui. GE also qualified though subsequently dropped out. Bids must be submitted by 20 June.