Personal Notes: Anyone who lives, works, or has traveled in Morocco is probably familiar with the Société Nationales des Transports et Logistiques (SNTL.) Certainly, anyone who has enjoyed a fresh glass of milk or a cup of yogurt from one of Morocco's largest and oldest dairy conglomerates, Centrale Laitière has SNTL to thank as they transport and refrigerate Centrale's products all over Morocco.
It is great and exciting news that SNTL is joining the green wave. This initial bid offer for a study on how to power their Mohammedia facility using photo-voltaics is a big step forward, and one that could pave the way for storage and refrigeration companies across the world by acting as an example to be emulated. The Mohammedia bid is just also just a toe in the water -- the call for bids also notes that SNTL is interested in expanding this PV pilot project to four other facilities, with a total installed capacity of 7 MW.
SNTL is not the first large Moroccan company to find that generating its own renewable energy can lead to big savings. For another example one needs to look no farther than the giant concrete producer Lafarge-Maroc, whose Tetouan wind farm, started to provide power to nearby concrete plants, saved the company around 10 million dirhams (approximately 1.2 million USD) last year in electricity costs, according to a high level source.
The American Connection -- Careful observers may be surprised by the fact that the SNTL bid is being underwritten by the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA.) To explain this occurrence we need to rely on a few "behind-the-scenes" facts. The first is that the American business community, like their European counterparts, has realized the enormous potential for green and renewables growth in Morocco. Likewise, a close source to the biding process has informed us here at the blog that SNTL is not only interested in PV to run their refrigeration storage facilities, but perhaps also as a way to run their vehicles. Put another way, SNTL is seriously considering converting a significant part of their vehicle fleet to electric vehicles, itself a bold move which we would remind our readers has not been officially confirmed by the company. Nonetheless, the roll-out of the Chevrolet Volt, as well as the start of the completely new, and only electric, car manufacturer Coda in California, make for a strange set of coincidences, and one which could herald a start of further US-Moroccan relations in terms of green development.
This is the call for bids for the study from US government website, Federal Business Opportunities:
The Grantee invites submission of qualifications and proposal data (collectively referred to as the "Proposal") from interested U.S. firms that are qualified on the basis of experience and capability to develop a feasibility study (the "Study") that will evaluate the optimal design, technology and project financing structure for a 1.5 megawatt (MW) peak capacity solar photovoltaic (PV) rooftop pilot project on the planned National Company for Transportation and Logistics (SNTL) facility at Mohammedia. The Study will also recommend tender specifications based on the findings of the Study. In addition, the Study will develop a duplicable methodology to identify preferred technologies for additional site development at four other planned SNTL facilities throughout Morocco, in order to achieve a cumulative installed peak generation capacity of 7 MW.
Morocco does not have crude oil, coal or natural gas resources and consequently relies heavily on imports to meet more than 95% of the country's energy requirements, mostly in the industrial, residential and transportation sectors. However, Morocco has vast renewable energy resources that the Government of Morocco (GOM) recognizes can reduce dependence on foreign sources of energy. At the same time, rising energy demand from population growth and economic development is outstripping capacity. Current energy market predictions show energy consumption rising approximately 8% per year while capacity is growing at only half that rate.
Accordingly, the GOM has embarked upon an ambitious national campaign to achieve 6 GW of installed capacity from renewable energy resources by 2020, representing 42% total of Morocco's total electricity generation portfolio. This plan includes 2 GW from solar energy, for which the GOM announced in 2009 a $12.4 billion utility-scale solar power plant investment program known as the Moroccan Solar Plan. For grid-connected distributed solar PV electricity, the National Office of Electricity (ONE) announced a smaller program in 2007 targeting 150 MW of solar PV power, which aims to support public sector entities such as SNTL as they implement their own renewable energy projects.
Created in 2007 out of the former National Transportation Office, SNTL is a 100% state-owned entity that is the leading company in Morocco for road transport freight, logistics services and passenger transportation. In addition, SNTL operates one of the largest fleets of delivery vehicles in Morocco. Given their energy requirements, SNTL is very interested in on-site solar power production to reduce energy consumption and lower electricity costs through the development of a solar PV rooftop pilot project in Mohammedia and subsequent duplication at the company's planned logistical centers. Given their fleet of delivery vehicles, the company is also interested in an analysis of the steps required to convert the entire fleet over to electric vehicles that can be charged from the rooftop solar PV array.
In October 2010, SNTL completed construction of its first logistics center, the 36,000 m2 Zenata platform, in Mohammedia, Morocco and is now planning to expand this platform with a new 60,000 m2 facility. The company intends to pilot a 1.5 MW solar PV project on the new facility, followed by an expansion to four additional planned facilities in the Moroccan cities of Agadir, Fes, Marrakesh and Tangier, for a total of 7 MW peak generating capacity installed on 220,000 m2 of roof. SNTL has instructed their engineering company to design the roof of the Zenata facility expansion to be structurally sufficient for the installation of rooftop solar PV arrays.
The Study will support SNTL by providing a detailed assessment for the implementation of the 1.5 MW solar PV rooftop pilot project in Mohammedia with further solar PV system implementation at four other SNTL facilities, for a total of 7 MW. The rooftop pilot project is expected to showcase the applicability of the selected solar PV technology on a utility scale and on a commercial rooftop facility. The Study will identify the specific needs of a solar PV power facility by providing site evaluations; permitting analysis; technology recommendations; financial modeling; net metering and connection requirement assessments; electrical vehicle fleet and PV charging capability assessments; electrical engineering recommendations, a preliminary environmental impact assessment, project implementation planning, and tender development support.
Implementation of the solar PV rooftop project is a high priority for SNTL. As a state-owned company, they are interested in taking a leadership position in catalyzing the use of solar PV technology on commercial rooftops. The SNTL project is expected to be the first large scale (>1MW) rooftop PV investment in Morocco and would serve as a model for replication throughout Morocco.
The U.S. firm selected will be paid in U.S. dollars from a $666,619 grant to the Grantee from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
A detailed Request for Proposals (RFP), which includes requirements for the Proposal, the Terms of Reference, and portions of a background definitional mission report are available from USTDA, at 1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1600, Arlington, VA 22209-3901. To request the RFP in PDF format, please go to:
Requests for a mailed hardcopy version of the RFP may also be faxed to the IRC, USTDA at 703-875-4009. In the fax, please include your firm's name, contact person, address, and telephone number. Some firms have found that RFP materials sent by U.S. mail do not reach them in time for preparation of an adequate response. Firms that want USTDA to use an overnight delivery service should include the name of the delivery service and your firm's account number in the request for the RFP. Firms that want to send a courier to USTDA to retrieve the RFP should allow one hour after faxing the request to USTDA before scheduling a pick-up. Please note that no telephone requests for the RFP will be honored. Please check your internal fax verification receipt. Because of the large number of RFP requests, USTDA cannot respond to requests for fax verification. Requests for RFPs received before 4:00 PM will be mailed the same day. Requests received after 4:00 PM will be mailed the following day. Please check with your courier and/or mail room before calling USTDA.
Only U.S. firms and individuals may bid on this USTDA financed activity. Interested firms, their subcontractors and employees of all participants must qualify under USTDA's nationality requirements as of the due date for submission of qualifications and proposals and, if selected to carry out the USTDA-financed activity, must continue to meet such requirements throughout the duration of the USTDA-financed activity. All goods and services to be provided by the selected firm shall have their nationality, source and origin in the U.S. or host country. The U.S. firm may use subcontractors from the host country for up to 20 percent of the USTDA grant amount. Details of USTDA's nationality requirements and mandatory contract clauses are also included in the RFP.
Interested U.S. firms should submit their Proposal in English directly to the Grantee by 4:00 PM LOCAL TIME, JUNE 6, 2012 at the above address. Evaluation criteria for the Proposal are included in the RFP. Price will not be a factor in contractor selection, and therefore, cost proposals should NOT be submitted. The Grantee reserves the right to reject any and/or all Proposals. The Grantee also reserves the right to contract with the selected firm for subsequent work related to the project. The Grantee is not bound to pay for any costs associated with the preparation and submission of Proposals.
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