As reported in Reuters, Morocco is planning on accelerating the tender processes for developing its 2,000 MW solar energy plan, beginning with awarding a contract for 160 MW using concentrated solar technology.
According to the chair of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy Mustafa Bakkoury, a winning consortium will be announced by the start of the summer to develop the first phase of a 500 MW solar power plant near Ouarzazate. The complex, which is scheduled to be completed by 2015, is part of a broader Moroccan effort to produce over 2 GW of solar power by 2020. Bakkoury also said the work on the first phase of the Ouarzazate solar plant will begin later this year.
Three different consortiums are vying to be the developer of the first 160 MW phase. The three are:
Abeinsa ICI, Abengoa Solar, Mitsui and Abu Dhabi National Energy Co.
Enel and ACS SCE
International Company for Water and Power (ACWA), Aries IS and TSK EE
The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy will also soon begin tenders to construct 50 MW CSP towers, which will also be located in Ouarzazate. In all, Morocco’s solar plan is worth an estimated $9 billion. Five power stations will be constructed, including two in the still disputed Western Sahara region.
Additional power is imperative to Morocco’s growth as electricity demands rise about 7% each year, which is straining Morocco’s economy due to heavy reliance on oil.
Along with wind energy, Morocco’s solar energy development plan could cut its fossil fuel imports by 2.5 million tons per year while also eliminating 9 million tons of emissions from entering the atmosphere.