Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricité (ONE) prequalified three groups for the contract to build a 350MW pumped power transfer station project (STEP) in Abdelmoumen, located 70km northeast of Agadir in the Taroudant province.

ONE received prequalification entries from six consortiums in March. The three prequalified groups are:

  • Vinci Construction (France)/Andritz Hydro (Austria)/Cegelec (France)
  • Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisti (Italy)/Rainpower Norge (Norway)
  • Daewoo Engineering & Construction (South Korea)/Toshiba (Japan)

The 350MW Abdelmoumen STEP will consist of two reversible turbine pumps, each with a generating capacity of 175MW and with a speed of 600rpm. The pumped power reservoir will have a drop of 540 metres, 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 ambitious plans to produce 42 per cent of its power through renewable energy schemes by 2020.

In August, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen) prequalified groups for the next phase of its Noor solar power complex in Ouarzazate, located in southern-central Morocco.

The projects, which involve building concentrating solar power (CSP) plants, will be developed through an independent power project (IPP) procurement model. The work will involve the design, financing, construction, and operation and maintenance (O&M) of one or more thermal solar plants with a combined total capacity of about 300MW.