23 August 2013 – Morocco plans to build two more concentrated solar power (CSP) plants producing 200 MW and 100 MW respectively at the southerly city of Ouarzazate, the country’s government has announced. This follows the commencement of construction of a 160 MW CSP plant at Ouarzazate in May 2013, by Acwa Power of Saudi Arabia. Acwa Power won the contract for the first CSP plant in 2012 after offering a price of $0.19 per kilowatt/hour.
The newly announced projects will be supported through grants from the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund, the European Investment Bank and German state-owned KfW Bank. The tenders for the new CSP projects will be launched at the start of the fourth quarter of 2013. According to a Reuters report, Morocco’s solar energy agency (Masen) has said consortia led by Spain’s Abengoa, GDF’s International Power and Acwa Power have been pre-selected for the 200 MW (Noor II) tender. The three groups are also pre-qualified for the 100 MW tender, with another consortium led by France’s EDF.
The authority has chosen parabolic mirror technology for the 200 MW concentrated solar plant, while the 100 MW plant will also be built as a solar power tower.
Morocco has been largely dependent on energy imports from Spain, but this might change soon. To diversify the country’s energy mix, Morocco has signed a contract with a Chinese firm Sepco III to build a 318 MW coal-fired plant. The project should not only help meet Morocco’s demand, which is growing by 7% a year, but is also expected to help the country to become an energy exporter.
In addition, state power utility ONEE has agreed with international lenders to build about 10 solar photovoltaic plants around the country to generate 30 MW apiece. This forms part of an initiative by Morocco to generate 2.0 GW of solar power by 2020, which is equivalent to about 38% of the country’s current installed generation capacity.