Country's capacity more than doubled

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Morocco more than doubled its installed wind capacity last month when King Mohammed VI inaugurated the 60 MW Amogdoul plant at Cap Sim, 20 kilometres south of Essaouira on the Atlantic coast. Prior to this, the country had just 53.9 MW connected to the grid. The project was developed by the state utility, Office National de l'Electricité (ONE), and built by Spain's Gamesa, which won an international competitive tender process to supply the 71, 850 kW turbines and undertake operation and maintenance. The development cost around MAD 800 million (EUR 72 million), of which German development bank KfW provided EUR 50 million under a bilateral financial cooperation initiative -- with EUR 25 million in the form of a loan concession -- and ONE chipped in the remaining EUR 22 million. Located in one of Morocco's windiest regions, where average annual wind speeds reach nine metres a second, Amogdoul is expected to generate around 200 GWh a year, allowing savings of some 48,000 tonnes of oil and a reduction in carbon gas emissions of 156,000 tonnes a year. It has been accepted for Clean Development Mechanism status under the Kyoto Protocol and ONE hopes it will qualify for Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), which are used to offset emission reduction obligations. Since the electricity produced will cost slightly above market rates, ONE plans to sell the CERs to offset the additional expenditure. Amogdoul is the first plant to start turning under Morocco's ambitious "Initiative 1000 MW" plan announced in October. Its aim is for Morocco to gain 10% of its energy from renewable resources by 2012. Next in line among wind projects will be a 140 MW plant near Tangier in northern Morocco, to be completed in 2009. Again, Gamesa has been selected to build and operate the plant, which will be financed by the European Investment Bank, KfW and ONE will put up the equity stake. Finally, ONE has requested initial expressions of interest to install 200-300 MW of wind turbines at Tarfaya, south of Essaouira, under a build operate transfer scheme. Completion is scheduled for 2010.

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