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Published on December 31st, 2014 | by Mridul Chadha


Africa’s Largest Wind Energy Project Commissioned In Morocco

December 31st, 2014 by  

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.

Tarfaya Wind Energy Project Morocco

Tarfaya wind energy project, Morocco

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

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About the Author

currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

  • Vestias

    the renewable energies are futuristic investments happy sustainability 2015

  • David in Bushwick

    Morocco also has incredible solar power potential but how much of a problem is desert heat and required washing due to dust?
    Onshore wind power continues to prove to be the most attractive renewable energy source, even in sunny deserts.

    • Bob_Wallace

      There are solar panel cleaning robots that use very little water.


    • Ronald Brakels

      Well, the best place to solar panels is on people’s roofs and people’s roofs are usually located where the rainfall is good and rainfall is sufficient to clean rooftop solar. For example, Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city has a massive average annual rainfall of about 43 centimeters. That’s high enough to grow trees! And it’s more than sufficient to keep solar panels clean. If there is a big dust storm then one can dust off the panels or use some water on them.

      One interesting thing about Morocco is the large number of flat roofs and sometimes this area is put to use, so maybe I’ll make a fortune selling retractable solar panels in Morocco.

      • Calamity_Jean

        Or install the solar panels on a framework so that they are overhead to anyone standing on the roof.

      • xoussef

        You’d get bankrupt very fast. The market, the grid and the regulatory framework are not ready yet. Perhaps it would make sense in a few years, but right now, large solar is essential to the economy as electricity demand soars, and it is easier to fund, install, regulate and integrate.
        As for water use, it’s not a problem since Ouarzazate is fed by snow melt from the atlas mountains and in the absence of any industry other than tourism, there is plenty of water for solar generation.

  • JamesWimberley

    The price seems unobtainable on the Web.

    Clever work by Morocco. They burnish green credentials, cut oil imports, and consolidate their hold on a disputed territory.

    • Larmion

      Is the Tarfaya wind farm in disputed territory? Some claim the southern part of Tarfaya province is part of the Western Sahara, but that the northern part in which the city of Tarfaya and this wind farm are situated is part of Morocco is desputed by nobody afaik.

      Still, it’s nice to see some development in the often marginalized southern half of the country.

    • xoussef

      Tarfaya is not and has never been a disputed territory. Get your facts right next time.

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