Morocco to award key wind farm tenders
Rabat, January 7, 2012
Morocco's state-run power utility, ONE, has invited companies to submit expressions of interest in five wind farm projects with a total power generation capacity of 850 megawatts in the energy-importing country.
ONE said will take bids until March 2 from firms or consortia for 'the development, design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance' of the five projects.
Bidders who pass the preliminary, expression-of-interest phase will be invited to bid in an international tender, which will be launched in the second quarter of this year.
'The 850 megawatt wind farm project will be structured under a 'build, own, operate and transfer' scheme,' ONE said in a statement.
Renewable energy is seen as vital to a country that has no oil or gas of its own and aims to diversify its exports to an energy-hungry trade partner, the European Union. ONE also needs to provide for a domestic electricity demand that grows by an annual 6 percent.
The project will be realised under a public-private partnership with ONE, the Energy Investments Company and King Hassan Fund, all owned by the state.
The tender also includes the separate procurement and maintenance of a 200 megawatt wind farm.
Morocco aims to tap its wind potential to raise power generation from wind farms to 2,000 megawatts by 2020 from 280 megawatts currently at a total cost of 31.5 billion dirhams ($3.6 billion).
'Our studies show that we can generate up to 25,000 megawatts from wind power alone,' a government official said.
Morocco has embarked on one of the world's biggest renewable energy development plans involving solar and wind power.
The solar power plan is worth $9 billion in investment and will include five power stations to account for 38 percent of the country's installed power generation capacity by 2020.
Together, the wind and solar energy development schemes should reduce Morocco's annual imports of fossil fuels by 2.5 million tonnes of oil equivalent and prevent emissions of 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Morocco aims to export surplus electricity to Europe via Spain, where it has a power market trading licence that allows it to sell electricity. ONE doubled the capacity of its interconnector to Spain to 400 MW in 2007.-Reuters