Genesis Morocco: In Retrospect, The Ouarzazate Solar Complex Bidding Process

Loading Assets... Please wait

Genesis Morocco

Project Genesis is a strategic sustainable development framework for Morocco to translate from being a net importer of energy and a country facing water shortage issues, into the number one producer both of clean renewable energy and water in the region.

Monday, November 26, 2012    <<Home

In Retrospect, The Ouarzazate Solar Complex Bidding Process

ACWA will build the 160 MW plant in a consortium with Spanish companies Aries, TSK, Acciona and Sener,

 All with extensive experience in construction of CSP plants in Spain. The plant will be parabolic trough type with SENER Through heat collector assemblies.

The contract is worth $1 billion and electricity will be sold at 1.62 dirhams per kWh far less than 2.05 proposed by the other two bidders, a consortium comprised by Abeinsa, Abengoa Solar, Mitsui and Aby Dhabi NEC and the consortium ENEL - ACS. There was a fourth bidder with Solar Millenium in its members, but due to the bankrupt of SM, it failed to bid.

It's expected that works will start before end of the year and it will take two years to complete the plant.
This is the first phase of a 500 MW project in Ouarzazate site. Moroccan government has plans to have 2 GW of solar energy installed by 2020, about 38% of country's currently installed power.

Next tenders will be for 50 MW tower type plants.

The Ouarzazate Solar Power Station Project I is part of the Moroccan Solar Plan designed within the broader framework of the MENA Region’s Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Investment Plan. This plan was designed under the aegis of the ADB and the World Bank, approved on 10/11/2009.

The project is co-financed by the Clean Technology Fund, the World Bank, the French Development Agency (AFD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the German Cooperation (KfW) and, potentially, other commercial banks and private partners.

The project will cover an area of 2,500 ha on the Tamzaghten Izerki site belonging to the Ait Oukrour Toundout ethnic community in Ghessat rural council area. The site is about 10 km from Ouarzazate town on the national road to Errachedia town. The site is currently a pastoral area with little fodder supply.

In 2009, Morocco`s Government announced a new energy strategy, based on developing national renewable energy potential  by increasing its share within the energy mix from 33% in 2009 to 42% in 2020. The plan includes 2000 MW of solar energy capacity by 2020.

To achieve the feasibility of the project, the Government will cover the difference between the price the National Electricity Authority will pay to MASEN and the price MASEN will pay to the private developer
under a power purchase agreement.

Editor's notes: $1 = 8.59 dirhams

€345 million investment secured for Morocco’s Ouarzazate solar project


The first 125 to 160 MW phase of the 500 MW Ouarzazate solar project has secured €345 million in funding from Europe. It is expected to be operational by 2015. Meanwhile, sources report that a US$1 billion PPA has been secured for the project.

Overall, the European Investment Bank has pledged €100 million to the first phase of the concentrated solar power (CSP) project, while the European Union has made €30 million available. Meanwhile, €100 million will come from the Development Agency for France (AFD), and €15 million from Germany’s KfW Entwicklungsbank (KfW) and Federal Environment Ministry (BMU).

The 500 MW parabolic-trough CSP project is expected to be the first implemented under Morocco’s Solar Plan (MSP), which aims to install a total solar capacity of 2 GW by 2020 in the country.

In September, the Moroccan Solar Energy Agency, MASEN, announced that a consortium led by the International Company for Water and Power (ACWA) and comprising the Saudi Arabian water and power company ACWA, Aries Ingeniería y Sistemas and TSK Electrónica y Electricidad had been chosen as the preferred bidder for the billion dollar project. At the time, it was said that the companies were planning to start work by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, last November, the World Bank said a U.S.$200 million loan would be provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and another $97 million loan would come from the Clean Technology Fund to aid in the project's development.

"As the lead European financial institution on this project, the EIB is proud to contribute both its financing and its technical expertise acquired across Europe for all sources of renewable energy. The first phase of Ouarzazate is a milestone for the success of the Mediterranean Solar Plan in the region. It provides a strong and green signal for the future in terms of technology, economic and energy development, and job opportunities," stated EIB VP, Philippe de Fontaine Vive.

In related news, various news sources, including are reporting that MASEN has signed a $1 billion PPA with the ACWA consortium. MASEN could not be immediately contacted for comment, however.

Further solar development

Under the MSP, tenders are also expected to be launched for 50 MW worth of CSP towers, also in Ouarzazate. Quoting Obaid Amrane, board member at MASEN, media outlet CSP Today reported earlier in the year that, "We are planning to launch the bidding process by the end of 2012 or early 2013."

Public procurement processes for build-own-operate-transfer power plants will further be conducted under an independent power producer (IPP) model with 25 year PPAs throughout various locations within Morocco.

And photovoltaics is also expected to play a bigger role in the third phase of the MSP, Nabih Cherradi, technical advisor and chief representative europe for the Shanghai New Energy Industry Association and founder of empowersun told pv magazine in September. Meanwhile, he expects that a minimum of 50 MW of photovoltaic capacity will be added in the first 500 MW phase.

Read more:

Genesis Morocco :