30 May 2012 – Morocco is looking to speed up tender processes for the development of its 2,000 MW solar energy plan, starting with the first contract for 160 MW to be generated using concentrated solar thermal power (CSP).

Mustafa Bakkoury, who chairs the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), says that the winning consortium for the first phase of a 500 MW CSP plant would be announced soon. The Ouarzazate 500 MW CSP complex, which should be completed by 2015, is the first part of the Moroccan solar plan to produce 2,000 MW of solar power by 2020. This corresponds to 38% of the country’s current installed power generation capacity.
 
Work on the first phase 160 MW parabolic trough project is expected to start in the third or fourth quarter of this year, and the winning consortium will be one of: Abeinsa ICI comprising Abengoa Solar, Mitsui and Abu Dhabi National Energy; a consortium comprising Enel and ACS SCE; a consortium comprising International Company for Water and Power (ACWA), Aries IS and TSK EE.
 
Masen will then launch tenders to build a 50 MW photovoltaic module and CSP towers of at least 50 MW in Ouarzazate, Bakkoury.

Morocco’s US$9 billion solar power plan is one of the most ambitious in the world and will include five power stations, two of which are located in the disputed Western Sahara territory. Facing an electricity demand that rises by an annual 7% and a large trade deficit due to heavy reliance on fossil fuel imports, Morocco is also counting on exporting electricity to the European Union. Morocco aims to export surplus electricity to Europe via Spain, where it has a power market trading licence.