Siemens to open Moroccan blade plant

MOROCCO: Siemens will open an onshore wind turbine rotor blade facility in 2017, in the northern Morocco region of Tangier.

Siemens will supply its 2.3MW turbines to the Tarfaya project in Morocco (pic: Engie)

Siemens said 700 jobs would be created at the factory, located in Tanger Automotive City, an industrial park 35km from the Tanger Med port, with links to Europe, the Middle East and the rest of Africa.

"Morocco is the perfect location from which to serve the growing onshore wind power markets in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. The economy is strong, the political climate is stable, and Morocco has a young, skilled and motivated workforce," said Siemens Wind CEO Markus Tacke.

"These factors make Tangier the ideal site for this new state-of-the-art factory," he added.

The German manufacturer said the plant would be its first wind-related facility in the country and the first blade site. "We are now 'first movers' for the production of wind turbine blades in Morocco and the entire Middle East and Africa region,"  said a Siemens spokeswoman.

Siemens is involved in a consortium with Moroccan equity firm Nareva Holding and Italian developer Enel Green Power bidding in an 850MW government tender for wind power.

The result of the tender has not yet been officially revealed. However, Enel Green Power announced in December the consortium had entered the lowest bid in the tender.

Combined with Siemens' decision to proceed with a factory there, the consortium is likely to have been successful in the auction to build the five projects.

Siemens was unable to comment further on the tender result, but said Morocco was an attractive investment market.

"The Moroccan government has presented a global plan to enhance its energy infrastructure. It aims to meet 52% of its energy demand with renewable energy by 2030, of which 20% is expected to be generated from wind.

"The local market development was therefore one of the decision criterions for establishing the factory," the Siemens spokeswoman said.

In 2009, Siemens supplied 131 2.3MW turbines to the 301MW Tarfaya wind project in Morocco, owned by French utilty Engie (formerly GDF Suez) and Nareva.

In March 2015, Siemens announced plans to open a blade factory in Egypt.

Siemens said this facility would "mainly" provide blades for up to 2GW of wind projects in Egypt following a framework agreement signed with the Egyptian government in June 2015.