Morocco start

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Construction is to start this year of a 50.4 MW wind plant in Morocco, backed with French money and supplied with Danish technology. The project of 84, 600 kW Vestas turbines is being developed by Compagnie Eolienne du Detroit, a company registered in Morocco, near Tetouan, 50 kilometres east of Tangiers. The investment amounts to FFR 300 million.

Tenders for the Tetouan project were submitted by Spanish and American companies, but the contract was finally awarded to French company Cabinet Germa and its partners by the Moroccan Office d'Electricité du Maroc (ONE). Engineer Jean-Michel Germa leads the group, which includes French utility Electricité de France and the Paribas merchant bank. Germa was the first Frenchman to build and operate a sizeable wind plant in France -- at Port-la-Nouvelle close to the Mediterranean Sea.

Significantly Germa, a small consultancy firm, has managed to retain control of the Moroccan venture despite having the largest electric utility in the world as his sparring partner. The wind plant will benefit financially from the Moroccan Investment Charter and ONE is committed to buying all the power for 20 years. The contract allows the wind farm to operate without subsidy and on equal footing with the rest of the Moroccan electricity system.

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