ACWA Power begins work on Moroccan solar plant

solar  Andreas DemmelbauerSaudi Arabian power plant developer ACWA Power International has started work on building a 160MW concentrated solar thermal facility in Morocco

According to a Bloomberg report, ACWA Power Ouarzazate, the unit designated to control the project, awarded construction contracts recently to Spanish group comprising Acciona SA (ANA), Sener and TSK to build the plant.

It will be part of a 500MW solar complex that Morocco has plans to build in the Ouarzazate area about 200km south of Marrakesh. ACWA Power has not disclosed the financial details of the contract yet.

ACWA Power president and chief executive officer Paddy Padmanathan said that the project will be expected to start commercial operations in the second half of 2015.

Moroccan energy minister Fouad Douiri had said earlier this year that the country has an ambition to generate 2,000MW of electricity from solar power by 2020, requiring investment of as much as US$9bn.

The government also has plans to tender for another solar project next year in the city of Oujda about 60km south of the Mediterranean Sea. That project will be between 400MW and 500MW.

ACWA Power said that the Ouarzazate project will be developed on a build, own, operate, and transfer basis. Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy, known as Masen, will buy the power produced under a 25-year purchasing agreement signed in November last year, it said.

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