Construction of Moroccan solar power plant commences

Construction of Moroccan solar power project commencesACWA said the Ouarzazate solar power plant will provide electricity to numerous local communities. (Image source: Mike Baker/Flickr)Construction of the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) independent power project (IPP) has commenced in Morocco

The 160 megawatt electrical (MWe) solar project, located at the Noor 1 Solar Power Complex, will be developed on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis by Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power for the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN).

The Noor 1 complex, which is located in the Souss-Massa-Draa province of Ouarzazate, is set to develop into a 500 MW solar park incorporating several utility-scale solar power plants using various solar technologies, ACWA said.

Mohammed Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA said, “We at ACWA Power are proud of the fruitful co-operation with the concerned Moroccan entities, in both public and private sectors, and here I would like to commend the professional efforts of MASEN, which managed the tender with full transparency in a record time and the ability to collect and manage a mixture of international financial institutions that each and every one of them had different and special requirements.”

The 160 MWe CSP IPP plant is set to be the world’s largest parabolic trough CSP power plant and the first utility-sized thermal solar generation project in Morocco.

ACWA has recently awarded an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to a consortium composed of Spain’s TSK Electrónica y Electicidad, Acciona Infrastructuras, Acciona Ingeniería and Sener Ingeniería y Sistemas for the 160 MWe project, while the operation and maintenance will be undertaken by a consortium led by NOMAC, a subsidiary of ACWA. It is estimated that commercial operation of the plant will begin in the second half of 2015.

ACWA said the plant will provide electricity to numerous local communities and will ensure a reliable energy source as well as increased power supply to the neighbouring communities, thereby facilitating the development and expansion of commercial and small industrial businesses.

In addition, the company claimed the project will mitigate the negative impact on the environment by using concentrated solar energy technology which will reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by approximately 470,000 tons during each year of operation.

ACWA added that it is seeking to collaborate with Moroccan companies, universities and research centres in order to educate them on solar power. The company has developed a joint research and development programme between Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) and Morocco’s Université Internationale de Rabat (UIR) which also focuses on CSP.

Up to 1,000 workers will be employed during construction and 60 during operation, the company noted.

Abunayyan added, “We have been able, through this project, to effectively participate in the Kingdom of Morocco’s renewable energy strategy which has become a model for the development of renewable energy industry in terms of technology, implementation and cost.”

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