ACWA Power International wins US$2bn solar plant contract in Morocco

moroccosolar-UN-flickrA consortium led by ACWA Power International has a won a US$2bn contract to construct two solar plants in Ouarzazate in southern Morocco

The consortium offered 15 cents per kW for the first 200MW plant with parabolic mirror technology. Other consortia such as Spain’s Abengoa, GDF International Power and ACWA Power were shortlisted for the 200MW Noor II tender

According to the North African nation’s solar energy agency Masen, the two plants would have a combined capacity of 350MW, and are part of the second phase of the 500MW Ouarzazate solar project. Saudi Arabia¦s ACWA Power has already committed to constructing one 160MW solar plant in phase one of the project.

The solar plants are expected to generate power by 2017. Morocco has secured loans from the World Bank, KFW, African Development Bank (AfDB), European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The Ouarzazate project is part of the Moroccan government to produce 2GW of solar power by 2020, which makes up around 38 per cent of the country’s current installed capacity. Morocco’s electricity demand rises by an annual seven per cent and its also facing a trade deficit due to reliance on fossil fuel imports, stated the European Union (EU). Along with a wind energy development scheme, the project is expected to reduce the country’s fossil fuel imports by 2.5mn tonnes of oil equivalent annually and prevent emissions of 9mn tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Meanwhile, Masen has also announced two solar plants in Midelt and Tata, located in central and south Morocco respectively, with a capacity of 500MW each.

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