Morocco

Morocco

Blockchain facility to be powered by wind

MOROCCO: Soluna, a subsidiary of American private equity firm Brookstone Partners, is developing up to 900MW of wind energy near Dakhla, in the disputed territory of southern Morocco.

Soluna will build computing centres alongside the wind project, dedicated to cryptocurrency mining and other blockchain technologies
Soluna will build computing centres alongside the wind project, dedicated to cryptocurrency mining and other blockchain technologies

Brookstone acquired the rights to develop the site — which has average wind speeds over 10m/s — when it bought developer AM Wind early 2018.

Soluna will use the wind energy to power computing centres it will build alongside dedicated to cryptocurrency mining and other blockchain technologies.

The whole project is estimated to cost around $3 billion.

The move is partly economic – with electricity representing around 40% of the operational costs of cryptocurrencies – and partly environmental.

Bitcoin mining currently consumes over 70TWh a year, with increasing concern over facilities running on cheap coal-power.

"Our vision is to power the blockchain with clean, renewable energy that we own and control," said John Belizaire, CEO of Soluna.

Soluna plans to develop the project over a number of phases, kicking off with 36MW of wind power plus an associated storage system comprising DC batteries, and computing facilities requiring 18MWh of electricity.

It hopes to start construction in early 2019 and commission the first phase in early 2020.

The company has retained consultancy Mott MacDonald to update the feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments previously carried out for AM Wind, while local legal firm Afrique Advisors is helping to secure the necessary permits.

Soluna said it is in talks with turbine manufacturers and will award a single turnkey engineering, procurement and construction contract for phase one to accelerate development and mitigate risks.

One possible issue concerns the uncertain status of Dakhla, which lies in the disputed territory of Western Sahara, claimed both by Morocco and the Polisario Front.

There is currently 55MW of operating wind energy in the disputed territory, 200MW under construction at Aftissat and 400MW awarded under Morocco's Integrated Wind Power Project: 300MW at Tiskrad and 100MW at Boujdour.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Windpower Monthly Events


Latest Jobs