Morocco’s l’Office National de l’Electricite (ONE) has awarded the Safi Energy Company the contract to develop the 1386MW Safi clean-coal independent power project (IPP) in Morocco.

The power plant will provide electricity for ONE on a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 30 years. The Safi Energy Company is owned by a consortium of the UK/France’s GDF Suez Energy International, the local Nareva Holding and Japan’s Mitsui & Company.

The Safi Energy Company was named preferred bidder on the project in November 2010, but the scheme has suffered from slow progress since. The IPP is expected to reach financial close in the first quarter of 2014 and commercial operation of the plant is scheduled for 2017.

South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering has been awarded an estimated $1.8bn contract to build the plant.

The Safi IPP will be Morocco’s second after Jorf Lasfar. The plant will be located 15 kilometres from the city of Safi on the Atlantic coast and about 200km southwest of Casablanca. It is expected to meet about 27 per cent of the country’s power needs.

The Safi project is also the second coal-fired power project to be awarded in Morocco in 2013. In July, China’s Sepco III was awarded a contract by ONE to build a 318MW coal-fired plant in Jerada.

The 318MW project will be built on the same site as the existing 165MW Jerada plant, which is located near the Algerian border. The scheme is due for commissioning by the end of 2016. The construction of the plant is being financed by a MD3bn ($356m) loan from the Chinese Export-Import (Exim) Bank.