Meanwhile, the country almost doubled its wind power capacity, with the addition of 119MW to reach 253MW at the end of the year (see table, page 80). As things stand, 2010 looks set to be quieter by comparison, with only a further 33MW likely to be built this year. But a number of large projects are in the pipeline that could see capacity jump again from 2011 onwards.
Last year's new capacity was divided between two projects, both built and equipped by Spanish turbine manufacturer Gamesa. The largest share comprised 107MW of what will eventually be a 140MW facility near Tangier, owned by the state utility, the National Office of Electricity (ONE). Gamesa is now waiting for the final authorisations before installing the last of the 165 850kW turbines which, if rubber-stamped, are likely to be the only new additions coming up this year. When complete, the plant will be the country's biggest to date.
The other 12MW installed last year went up beside Lafarge Maroc's cement works at Tetouan in the north of Morocco. It brings the total installed at the site to 32MW, all developed under the government's EnergiPro initiative. This aims to encourage private-sector participation in electricity supply, with a target of 1GW. The programme offers various incentives to major industrial consumers investing in renewables in order to offset their energy bills and carbon emissions. ONE will transport the power produced by these plant to the point of consumption and pay for some of this cost. It also guarantees to buy any electricity surplus to the investors' needs at a good rate.
ONE has signed a memorandum of understanding for EnergiPro projects, so far totalling 720MW, including 310MW with Nareva Holding, a subsidiary of the Moroccan industrial, financial and services conglomerate ONA (Winpow Monthly, September 2008). ONE expects around 100MW will be commissioned by the end of 2011, followed by at least another 250MW in 2012.
There has been progress, too, on another large private-sector project for 300MW at Tarfaya, on the Atlantic coast. Following an international tender call launched by ONE in 2007, just two groups submitted final bids: France-based GDF Suez and Britain's International Power in partnership with Nareva Holding. The winner is expected to be announced soon. The project will be built in two phases: 200MW in 2011, and 100MW in 2012.
On the policy front, renewables play a central role in Morocco's new energy strategy, adopted last March. While confirming the target of 20% of electricity to come from renewables by 2012, the strategy anticipates the share of electricity produced from solar, wind and hydropower will reach 42% by 2020. Wind is expected to provide 14% of this, up from just 2% today. By 2030 installed wind capacity could reach around 6GW and generate in the region of 18TWh.
Underpinning the strategy will be the long-awaited renewable energy law, which is expected to reach the statute book any day now. Among other things, the law calls for the establishment of a dedicated renewable energy agency - a beefed-up version of the Center for Renewable Energy - under the Ministry of Energy and Mines to oversee the sector. In addition, wind power projects over 2MW will be restricted to certain designated areas, to be defined by the agency.
The law also specifies the criteria under which siting permits will be granted. Permits will be withdrawn if the plant is not built within three years. Otherwise, the authorisation to own and operate a facility lasts for 25 years. Owners will be able to sell their output directly to clients or to a state-designated counter-party, and to export it.
Funding to support policies
The government has also set up an Energy Development Fund to support its energy efficiency and renewable energy policies. The fund is expected to reach $1.5-2 billion (EUR1.08-1.43 billion), with contributions from various sources including the World Bank's Clean Technology Fund, various development banks, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Overall, investment in renewable energy generation projects is expected to require some $4.4 billion (EUR3.15billion) up to 2015.
Substantial sums will also have to be spent on the national grid if it is to meet the demands made on it by such large deployment of renewables. As it stands, it is estimated that the grid can accommodate up to around 1.5GW of wind power. At the end of last year, the interconnection with Algeria was upgraded to give a total capacity of 800MW, and the 400kV network will soon be extended down the Atlantic coast to Laayoune. There are also plans afoot to add a third submarine link between Morocco and Spain, increasing capacity from 1.4GW today to 2.1GW by 2012. As Morocco ramps up its renewable energy output, it hopes to start exporting some of its green electricity to Europe by 2014.
New installations in 2009
LOCATION OWNER TURBINE MW
Tangier ONE Gamesa 107.0
Amogdoul ONE Gamesa 60.0
Al Koudia Al Baida Theolia Vestas 50.4
Tetouan Lafarge Gamesa 32.2
Al Koudia Al Baida ONE Enercon 3.5