15 October 2008 – Morocco’s power utility Office National de l’electricite (ONE) has set 15 January 2009as the deadline for 17 pre-qualified firms to submit offers to build a 1,320 MW coal-fired power plant.

ONE expects construction work on the 20-billion-dirham (US$2.56 billion) plant to begin in June next year, before it comes on-stream in 2012.

The power plant, to be located in the Atlantic coastal city of Safi, will generate 10 billion kilowatts per year — 27 percent of the country’s total electricity demand — when it reaches full production capacity in 2014, ONE added.

ONE said it had selected 17 consortiums or firms as prequalified bidders for the project, including U.S.-based AES Corporation and CMS Energy Corporation French power group EDF, Portuguese power company EDP, a European consortium led by Spanish group Endesa, and Japan’s Mitsubishi International Corporation.

Industry sources familiar with the tender said ONE plans to shortlist three from the 17 pre-qualified bidders, before finally negotiating with one bidder.

The winner would have a licence to finance, design, build, maintain and run the plant, the sources said, adding that ONE has set as one of the conditions that the bidder must have built at least two similar power plants.

ONE wants to export electricity to Spain and other European countries. It has a power market trading licence in Spain and has doubled the capacity of an inter-connector between the two countries to 1,400 MW.