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Morocco Begins Construction On 160 MW CSP Plant

The 160 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco, began on Friday with a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony by King Mohammed VI.

Image Credit: Artist rendering of the proposed Ouarzazate CSP complex

Image Credit: Artist rendering of the proposed Ouarzazate CSP complex

The parabolic trough CSP independent power project is being built by a consortium led by ACWA Power and including Acciona, Sener and TSK. The contract was awarded to the consortium on April 29, and Ouarzazate 1 is set to go online in 2015. The consortium has also received significant backing from the German government, who have pledged €115 million in support for the project, making them Europe’s most significant partner in the project.

The construction of the Ouarzazate 1 plant is the first step on Morocco’s road to generating half of its electricity supply from renewable energy sources by 2020.

Speaking in response to the awarding of the contract on April 29, Paddy Padmanathan the President and CEO of ACWA Power said “ACWA Power believes entering into a new market as an investor and operator also means embarking on a long-term relationship with the country as a whole and the local community specifically. Therefore the EPC Contract has been structured to maximize economic value creation within Morocco by not just encouraging local manufacturing but also in skills transfer, training and local capacity building.”

“The solar power plant will help reduce Morocco’s dependence on imported fossil fuels. Solar energy is a future market that is of great importance for countries like Morocco,” the German government said in a statement addressing the groundbreaking ceremony.  “Germany is making a significant contribution so that these markets can develop, which not only generates employment but also investment opportunities for the private economy.”

The 160 MWe Ouarzazate CSP IPP Project is to be developed on a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis. The operation and maintenance of the facility will be undertaken by NOMAC, a subsidiary of ACWA Power, while Masen will be the recipient of the energy produced under a 25-year PPA agreement signed last year.

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