Morocco is charging towards a brighter energy future as it takes new steps to expand its solar power projects.
The Moroccan solar energy agency has completed the auction of phase II and III of the Ouarzazate concentrated solar power (CSP) project. These projects are in addition to the 160 MW CSP project already under construction. The total capacity of the three phases will be around 500 MW.
The first phase includes a solar thermal power plant based on parabolic trough reflectors. Phase II includes a 200 MW project using the same technology, while phase III will have a capacity of 150 MW and will use the power tower technology. A fourth phase is expected to have 50 MW capacity based on photovoltaic (PV) technology.
Three consortia had bid for the phase II project. These included consortia led by Abengoa, Sener Group, and International Power (GDF Suez). Four consortia had bid for phase III projects. These included Abengoa, Sener Group, EDF, and (International Power) GDF Suez.
Sener Group and ACWA Power of Saudi Arabia partnered in submitting their bids for the two projects. According to various reports, this consortium managed to place the lowest combined bid for the two projects. However, an Abengoa-led consortium placed the lowest bid for the phase III project.
Phase I project construction would potentially require investment worth $1.7 billion. The project has already secured debt funding from World Bank, African Development Bank, European Investment Bank, and German development bank KfW. The construction of phase I is expected to be completed by 2015 while all phases are expected to be completed by 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.