Morocco’s first solar energy plant will start working in 2015, according to a report, as part of a multi-billion-euro project the oil-scarce kingdom hopes will fulfill its rising energy needs.
The supposed “Nour 1” thermo-solar plant at the southern desert city of Ouarzazate will be ready, according to the head of Morocco’s MASEN solar energy agency, Mustapha Bakkoury.
The North African country is aspiring to develop into a first-class renewable energy producer and is looking at the possibility to export clean electricity to close Europe.
Morocco looks forward to put up five new solar plants by the end of the decade with a mixed production capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW) and at an approximated cost of seven billion euros.
The Nour 1 plant cost 600 million euros and is estimated to have a capability to generate 160 MW.
A group headed by Saudi developer ACWA Power won the contract to put up the plant, close to Morocco’s desert entry city this September.
The African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank are assisting to support the solar complex.
The second phase of the plant, as well as the construction of two added solar parks, will commence at the beginning of 2015.
It was also announced that a call for offers had fascinated seven companies, as well as Spanish and French groups, the outcome of which will be revealed before the end of 2014. The third and finishing structure phase at Ouarzazate will be divulged in the coming weeks.
The kingdom has limited oil and gas reserves and is expecting with the solar projects, together with a string of planned wind farms along its Atlantic coast, to increase renewable energy production to 42% of its total power supply mix by 2020.