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Green light for 120MW Moroccan project

MOROCCO: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has confirmed it will provide finance for the country's first wind project to be built without state funding.

Morocco has 787MW of online wind capacity, including the 140MW Tangier project
Morocco has 787MW of online wind capacity, including the 140MW Tangier project

Project owner ACWA Power has secured finance for the 120MW Khalladi wind site, located to the east of Tangier, northern Morocco.

The plant will be the first in Morocco not to rely on state support, instead selling around 85% of its output to three large clients in the cement sector, explained Peter Gish, managing director of developer and joint-owner, UPC North Africa Renewables. State utility ONEE will buy the remaining power.

Moroccan bank BMCE and the EBRD will each loan €63 million with a 20-year repayment period to help build and operate the €163-million plant.

Shareholders ACWA (70%), African infrastructure fund ARIF (25%) and UPC Renewables (5%) will provide the remaining €37 million as equity.

The EBRD backing comprises a loan of €56 million, complemented by €7 million in concessional support from the Clean Technology Fund under the bank's recently launched €230 million financing programme to help private-sector renewables projects in Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan.

Vestas will supply 40 of its V90-3MW turbines, Gish said, although in early December the manufacturer said it had yet to receive a firm and unconditional order. 

The project also involves the construction of a substation and a 23km transmission line. Commissioning is slated for early 2017.


In a separate move, Moroccan energy minister Abdelkader Amara has announced plans to add 6.76GW of renewable energy in the period 2021-2025, of which 2.74GW will be wind. The current target foresees 2GW of wind online by 2020.

Operating capacity currently stands at almost 800MW, with 850MW out to tender and a pipeline of nearly 1GW at various stages of development. The results of the tender should be announced later this month and contracts signed early 2016, Amara said.

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