Morocco’s first solar energy plant will begin operating in 2015 as part of a multi-billion-euro project the kingdom hopes will satisfy its growing energy needs.
Mustapha Bakkoury, the head of Morocco’s MASEN solar energy agency told the French press agency AFP that the thermo-solar plant “Nour 1” will be operational next year.
Morocco is aiming to become a world-class renewable energy producer and is eyeing the chance to export clean electricity to nearby Europe.
Five new solar plants are expected to be built in Morocco by the end of the decade with a combined production capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW) and at an estimated cost of seven billion euros ($9 billion). The Nour 1 plant cost 600 million euros and is expected to have a capacity to generate 160 MW.
A consortium led by Saudi developer ACWA Power won the contract to build the plant near Ouarzazate last September. The World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank are helping to finance the solar complex.
Bakkoury said the general project — the largest of its kind in the world — was progressing in a satisfactory manner. The plant’s second phase, including the construction of two additional solar parks, will begin at the start of next year, Bakkoury said.
He said a call for tenders had attracted seven firms, including French and Spanish groups, the result of which will be announced before the end of the year.
Bakkoury added that a third and final construction phase at Ouarzazate will be announced in the next few weeks.
The Moroccan Times.