Utility ONE looks set to go ahead with 140 MW Tangiers wind farm

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It now looks as if Morocco's national utility, ONE, will go ahead with a long planned 140 MW wind plant at Tangiers, provided it can secure finance for the development. ONE will build and operate the plant. "ONE's strategy is to handle the ownership of wind power projects itself by securing sources of financing that are accessible and affordable to it as a public institution," says Khalid Benhamou of the Sahara Wind Project, referring to "soft" sources of funding such as international aid programs. "These financial sources do not exist for private companies and make wind electricity definitely more affordable, representing an overall gain for the country's economy," he argues. Sahara Wind Project has a distant plan for development of 5 GW of wind power in Morocco. The first step it is taking is to establish how much wind generation the current power network can cope with before the construction of an intended high voltage direct current line that will feed into the local and regional electricity markets, now being liberalised. Benhamou's cherished aim is to ultimately expand Morocco's wind power generation to the point at which it can export electricity to Europe. Morocco is still a small market, but with a large potential. The availability of land, the size of demand and local economic conditions mean that all Moroccan wind farms are likely to be large. There are currently two wind farms operating: Koudia al Baida (50.4 MW) and the adjacent Parc Eolien Modèle, owned by ONE. The tender for the Tangiers 140 MW project was one of two for wind farms which were to be under concessionary ownership, the other being for a 60 MW project at Tarfaya. The tenders were suspended before any contracts were awarded. A further call for tenders to build the Essaouira wind farm, a 60 MW project near Cap Sim to be financed by Germany's overseas aid bank, KfW, was issued last year, but delayed by a bird impact study. Although no consortium has yet been selected for it, the wind farm is scheduled to go into production at the end of 2005.

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