Moroccan wind farm comes online

15 December 2014

Africa’s largest wind farm at 301MW now fully operational

The 301MW Tarfaya wind farm on Morocco’s southern Atlantic coast began full commercial operation on 8 December 2014.

The project was gradually brought online in 50MW tranches from June 2014. It comprises 131 wind turbines of 2.3MW each, spread over an area of 8,900 hectares.

It will be operated by Tarfeya Energy Company (Tarec), a joint venture of French/UK GDF Suez Energy International and Moroccan Nareva Holding, on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis. The project secured $350m of financing in 2012.

Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricite et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) will be the offtaker under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA).

It is currently the largest wind farm in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, but will be overtaken by the second phase of Egypt’s Gabal Al-Zeit project, which will bring its capacity to 440MW. The New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) is due to award the main contract in December.

The successful completion of the project is another boost to Morocco’s renewables programme, the most advanced in the region, which already supplies more than 2000MW. ONEE is evaluating BOOT bids for five more wind farms with a total capacity of 850MW, and worth more than $1.5bn.

The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen) is also evaluating bids for phase 2 of the Noor concentrated solar power plant, the largest of its type in the world at 200MW.

GDF Suez and Nareva are also developing a 1,320MW coal-fired power plant at Safi in Morocco, which reached a financial close in October 2014.

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