The Ouarzazate solar complex in Morocco has been granted €100 million and US$ 119 million by the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group for phase ll of the project, AfDB said in a statement on Wednesday.

The second phase includes plans to develop two new power stations with a generation capacity of 350MW and a total annual production of 1 100GWh.

Alex Rugamba, Director of the AfDB Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department said:

‘The project is one of the innovative developments in the energy sector supported by the Bank, based on the technology used and the financial arrangements with the support of the Climate Investment Funds, namely a public-private partnership supported by several donors. The Bank’s participation in this second phase will support its position as a leading partner in the development of Morocco and strengthen its dominant role in combatting the effects of climate change’.

The project forms part of the Moroccan Solar Energy Programme (NOOR), which plans to implement 2 000MW by 2020 to reduce the amount of energy which the country currently imports to meet energy needs.

In the last decade, Morocco’s energy consumption has increased by 7.2% and is predicted to ‘quadruple’ by 2030, AfDB said in a statement.

‘The country has made securing its power supply a priority for its new energy strategy for 2010 to 2030; one of its aims is to diversify sources of production and generate value from the potential of renewable energy sources, to increase its share of electricity production to 42% by 2020’, AfDB said.

Project benefits

The Ouarzazate region has over 583 000 residents and a 23% poverty rate. This project aims to improve the socio economic state of the country, including the following objectives:

  • Reduce CO2 emissions by around 522 000 tonnes a year
  • Provide a reliable electricity supply to businesses
  • Promote a new industrial sector producing solar equipment
  • Facilitate job creation

The AfDB awarded a loan of €100 million and US$100 million for the first phase of the Ouarzazate solar complex project in 2012, with the first 160MW to come into operation by the end of 2015.

The Bank is currently involved in other projects in Morocco’s energy sector including the development of the electricity transport and distribution network which will mobilise production from the Ouarzazate complex.

(Pic Credits: Morocco World News)