Financing sought for interconnection

01 February 2002

The government has requested funding of up to MD 2,030 million ($177 million) to help cover the equipment costs of a major project to expand the kingdom's international electricity interconnection network.

Proposals were submitted on behalf of state power company Office National de l'Electricite (ONE) for a loan of MD 1,200 million ($105 million) from the European Investment Bank, and another of MD 830 million ($72 million) from the African Development Bank. France's development agency Caisse Francaise de Developpement (CFD) and the Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic & Social Development are also understood to be interested in financing the project. Total costs are estimated at MD 3,700 million ($323 million).

The project will expand Morocco's electricity links with Spain and Algeria. The capacity of the network running east to Algeria will be boosted to 1,700 MW from 500 MW, while links under the Mediterranean to Spain will be doubled to carry a capacity of 1,400 MW. The work is expected to take three years.

'The present Spanish-Moroccan interconnection works very well, but demand is growing rapidly,' says an ONE official. 'The capacity increase suits both sides and makes commercial sense. Morocco will profit from increased sales and Spain will be able to resolve its power shortfall.'

The project forms part of wider plans to improve the electricity interconnection around the Mediterranean ring. Work is already under way on the section between Algeria and Tunisia and the link between Egypt and Libya is already operational.

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