ACWA Power International, a Saudi Arabian power plant developer, started work on building a 160 megawatt concentrated solar thermal facility in Morocco, it said in an e-mailed statement today.
ACWA Power Ouarzazate, the unit designated to control the project, awarded construction contracts yesterday to Spanish group composed of Acciona SA, Sener and TSK to build the plant. It’s part of a 500-megawatt solar complex Morocco intends to build in the Ouarzazate area about 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of Marrakesh. ACWA Power didn’t disclose the financial details of the contract.
The project is expected to start commercial operations in the second half of 2015, Paddy Padmanathan, president and chief executive officer of ACWA Power, said in an e-mailed statement.
Morocco has an ambition to generate 2 gigawatts of electricity from solar power by 2020, requiring investment of as much as $9 billion, Fouad Douiri, the country’s energy minister, said in January in Abu Dhabi.
Next year, he said the government plans to tender for another solar project in the city of Oujda about 60 kilometers south of the Mediterranean Sea. That project would be between 400 megawatts and 500 megawatts.
The Ouarzazate project is to be developed on a build, own, operate, and transfer basis, ACWA Power said. Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy, known as Masen, buy the power produced under a 25-year purchasing agreement signed on Nov.19, it said. Morocco is seeking to award work on the second phase of its Ouarzazate solar power project by the end of the year, the nation’s minister of mines and energy said.
Morocco plans to tender a second phase of Ouarzazate project by end of this year, Minister Douiri said in January. The second phase would provide 300 megawatts to 340 megawatts of power once completed. ACWA power said today in a separat statement that it’s interested in pursuing this tender and any other opportunity once it’s out for bidders.