GDF Suez and its partner Nareva Holding have announced that Africa’s largest wind farm, the 301 MW Tarfaya Wind Farm situated on Moroccan Southern Atlantic Coast, has commenced commercial operations.
The wind energy project has been built by the Tarfaya Energy Company (TAREC), a 50:50 joint venture between GDF SUEZ and Nareva Holding. The project entails an overall investment of €450 million and debt financing was provided by a consortium of three Moroccan banks.
Spread over an area of 8,900 hectares, Tarfaya wind farm consists of 131 wind turbines of 2.3 MW capacity each. The construction for the wind farm started in January 2013 and phased commissioning in tranches of 50 MW each began in June 2014.
The power generated from Tarfaya is expected to offset 900,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to CO2 emissions absorbed by 150 million trees in a year. The wind farm will help to electrify 1.5 million households.
GDF Suez and Nareva have signed a 20-year long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) on a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis to sell the power generated from the wind farm to the Moroccan state utility Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE).
In an effort to tackle rising electricity demand and pressure to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, the Moroccon government has been luring developers including Enel Green Power SpA and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co.to set up renewable energy projects.
While Morocco is the largest energy importer in the MENA region, it also has significant renewable energy potential. The wind energy potential in the country is estimated at 25,000 MW which is largely untapped. The 301 MW Tarfaya wind farm represents 15% of the 2,000 MW wind energy target set by the Moroccan government and will help to contribute significantly to the country’s objective of achieving 42% installed capacity from renewable energy by 2020.
Image Credit: GDF Suez