Morocco tenders region's largest solar project

30 May 2011

Ouarzazate solar project will have a capacity of 125MW

The Moroccan Agency for Solar Development (Masen) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to prequalified developers for the region’s largest concentrated solar project (CSP) at Ouarzazate.

Masen prequalified the following groups in January (MEED 7:1:10):

  • Abeinsa (Spain), Abengoa Solar (Spain), Mitsui (Japan) and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (UAE)
  • Enel (Italy) and ACS Servicios Comunicaciones y Energia (Spain)
  • Acwa Power (Saudi Arabia), Aries Ingeniería y Sistemas (Spain) and TSK Electronica y Electricidad (Spain)
  • Orascom Construction Industries (Egypt), Solar Millenium (Germany) and Evonik Steag (US)

The groups have until 8 August to submit technical bids.

The selected bidder will design, build, operate, maintain and finance either a single project or a cluster of facilities.

This is the first phase of the Ouarzazate solar complex and will be based on concentrated solar power (CSP) parabolic trough technologies. It will have a minimum capacity of 125MW and will be online by 2014. It is expected the first phase of the Quarzazate project will cost about the same as the recently financed Shams 1 solar project in Abu Dhabi, which will cost $768m to develop.

Subsequent phases will be launched starting from 2011 and before the end of 2012 in order to achieve an overall target of 500MW in operation by 2015. At least one of these phases will be dedicated to photovoltaic technologies and another one to CSP tower technologies.

The planned site is located in the Tamezghitene area of Morocco, approximately 10 kilometres northeast of the city of Ouarzazate. The project will cover an area of about 3,300 hectares.

The region receives around 7.22 kWh radiation per square metre a day and the Mansour Eddahbi dam is 4km away. The dam will be a useful resource for the project because access to water is important for running concentrated solar power facilities. The site is also close to existing 225/60kV high-voltage transmission lines.

The Ouarzazate project was originally sponsored by Morocco’s Office National de l’ Electricite, but was transferred to the newly created Masen under the Moroccan law 57/09 to be developed as an independent power project.

Masen launched the tender with the Washington-based IFC and the UK’s Linklaters as advisers. It then replaced these advisers with the US’ Citigroup as financial adviser and France’s Gide Loyrette Nouel as legal adviser (MEED 8:4:11).

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