Morocco aims high with ambitious plan

MOROCCO: The Moroccan government has launched an ambitious programme to reach 2GW of installed wind capacity by 2020 as part of its plan to generate 14% of electricity from wind energy by then.

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The Integrated Wind Power Program was announced as King Mohammed VI inaugurated a 140MW wind plant near Tangiers in June. The plant is not only the biggest in Morocco, but also the biggest in Africa. It doubled the country's operating capacity to 287MW.

The Integrated Wind Power Program identifies five new sites with a combined capacity of 1GW to be undertaken as public-private partnerships between one or more industrial partners and three state entities: the National Office of Electricity (ONE), the Energy Investment Company (SIE), set up to invest in renewable energies, and the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development.

The total investment is estimated at MAD31.5 billion (EUR2.83 billion). ONE will be in overall charge of the programme, with the first prequalification round expected in December, followed by a request for proposals next June. The first projects are due online in 2014.

The Tangiers plant was developed by ONE and built by Spanish turbine manufacturer Gamesa under a turnkey contract. Gamesa also supplied the 165 850kW turbines and will be responsible for maintenance. With output estimated at 526.5GWh a year, the plant will reduce CO2 emissions by 470,000 tonnes and crude oil imports by 126,000 tonnes. The price tag of MAD2.75 billion (EUR250 million) was met with funding from the Spanish government, the European Investment Bank and Germany's overseas aid bank, KfW, plus an equity stake from ONE.

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