Local/UK joint venture selected for Moroccan wind farm

25 August 2010

International Power and Nareva to build wind farm

In numbers

2,000MW: Morocco’s renewable energy capacity target for each of the wind, hydroelectric and solar power sectors for 2020

Source: MEED

Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricite (ONE) has selected the UK’s International Power and the local Nareva Holding to build the planned 300MW Tarfaya wind farm.

The local/UK joint venture’s bid of MD 7.548 ($5.16) per kWh was selected by ONE.

A rival bid submitted by France’s GDF Suez was deemed non-compliant as it was not fully funded.

While GDF Suez’ bid had some backing from Belgium’s Fortis and France’s Credit Agricole CIB, it was not fully funded and so ONE declared it invalid.

International Power and Nareva’s bid has fully committed bank backing from local lenders Attijariwafa Bank and the Moroccan subsidiary of Groupe Banque Populaire.

The gearing ratios for the project have not yet been finalised. Sources close to the project have indicated that it will probably be around 70-75 per cent debt financed.

Bids to build the project were entered in July 2009 in three separate envelopes containing the technical, financial and tariff elements of each submission.  

The tariff opening – in the final envelope - was scheduled for the end of March. The tender process experienced many delays since bids were first invited in February 2008 before the tariffs were opened on 16 August 2010.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and European Investment Bank (EIB) are expected to put forward a significant portion of the finance for the project.

ONE’s advisory team is made up of the US’s Chadbourne & Parke for legal, the UK’s HSBC for financial and Garrad Hassan for technical.

The winning bidders are advised by the UK’s Clifford Chance. GDF Suez appointed the US’s Vinson & Elkins and Shearman & Sterling was acting for its lenders.

While International Power and Nareva’s win is an important coup, following the recent reverse takeover of International Power by GDF Suez, the French company will be involved in the project indirectly.

Morocco has initiated an ambitious strategy to boost the share of renewable energies in the kingdom’s power sector to satisfy increasing domestic demand.

The target is to develop 2,000MW wind, 2,000MW hydroelectric and 2,000MW solar installed capacity by 2020, which is expected to represent 42 per cent of the total power generation capacity.

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