Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricité (ONE) has invited companies to prequalify for a 350MW pumped power transfer station project (STEP) in Abdelmoumen, located 70km northeast of Agadir in the Taroudant province.

Companies have until 29 March to submit prequalification entries for the scheme.

The 350MW Abdelmoumen STEP will consist of two reversible turbine pumps, each with a generating capacity of 175MW and with a speed of 600 rev/min. The pumped power reservoir will have a drop of 540 metre, with a pump speed of 36 cubic metres a second.

The Abdelmoumen scheme will reinforce the existing 460MW STEP at Afourer, which has been operational since 2004. Morocco has received loans from the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank to fund the development of its hydropower programme.

The planned project will enable solar and wind energy to be stored, and will form part of Morocco’s plans to produce 42 per cent of its power through renewable energy schemes by 2020.

In December last year, ONE prequalified six groups for the project to develop five wind farms with a total capacity of 850MW. The developer will design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the wind farms as independent power projects (IPPs). The electricity company is also planning to build a 100MW wind farm in Koudia al-Baida. ONE has opened technical bids from five groups, which had been invited to bid for the contract in April last year.