25 January 2013 – Morocco is expected to open up bidding for the second phase of its planned Ouarzazate solar power project by the end of 2013, according to the country’s minister of mines and energy Fouad Douiri. The second phase project is to provide some 300 MW to 340 MW once completed and bring the total capacity at Ouarzazate to about 500 MW for both phases.

The first phase of the project is being built by ACWA Power International, a Saudi Arabian based developer. It won the bid after it offered a tariff that was 28.8% lower than that offered by the next best bidder.As part of the first phase, ACWA will develop a 160MW concentrated solar power (CSP) facility at the complex. All necessary financing has been secured for the project and construction is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2013.

The project is part of the Morocco’s ambition to generate 2.0 GW from solar power by 2020, requiring investment of some US$9 billion. Douiri says the government plans to tender for another solar project in the city of Oujda about 60 kilometres south of the Mediterranean Sea in 2014. It would be between 400 MW and 500 MW in scale.