The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved nearly $250 million in loan to support construction and operation of Morocco’s Noor-Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project Phase-II. This phase will include construction of two concentrated solar plants with an aggregate capacity of 350 MW.
This is the second time the project has secured funding from African Development Bank. In 2012, AfDB provided a $123 million loan from the bank’s own resources and a loan of $100 million from the Clean Technologies Fund for the development of Phase-I Noor-Ouarzazate project. This project received funding from various other international lenders as well including the World Bank and the European Investment Bank. Earlier this year, World Bank had also provided $519 million loan for the development of Phase II.
The total capacity of the concentrated solar power (CSP) project would be 510 MW. This would be the largest CSP project in the world on completion. The first phase of the Noor-Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power Project is currently under construction with an installed capacity of 160 MW and is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2015.
The complete Noor-Ouarzazate project is expected to be commissioned in 2019. Once completed, the project will provide 18% of Morocco’s annual electricity generation. The project is a part of Moroccan Solar Energy Program which aims to install 2 GW of solar power capacity by 2020. The program includes implementation of five solar power projects spread over an area of 10,000 hectares.
Morocco, being the largest energy importer in the MENA region with fossil fuel comprising 97% of the energy mix, certainly requires vast scale development of renewable energy projects to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The Moroccan government hopes to increase the share of renewable energy in the power mix to 42% by 2020.
Image Credit: Z22 | CC BY-SA 3.0
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