GDF Suez to Build Africa’s Biggest Wind Farm in Moroccan Desert

GDF Suez SA, Europe’s biggest utility by market value, will develop Africa’s largest wind farm in Morocco as the nation seeks to boost power output without adding to emissions.

GDF Suez and local company Nareva Holding plan to complete the 300-megawatt Tarfaya project by the end of 2014, the Paris-based utility said today in a statement. The partners, using a 360 million-euro ($488 million) loan from Moroccan banks and 90 million euros of their own capital, will share development costs equally.

With rising electricity demand and untapped wind resources, Morocco is luring developers including Enel Green Power SpA and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. to build clean-energy projects. The North African nation aims to build 2,000 megawatts of wind capacity by 2020 to curb dependence on fossil fuels.

GDF Suez and Nareva have signed a 20-year agreement to sell the power generated at their project in the southern coastal desert to Morocco’s Office National de l’Electricite & de l’Eau Potable. “Optimal” wind conditions will give the site a utilization rate of 45 percent, GDF Suez said.

“There’s no uncertainty about power prices or volumes,” GDF Suez Chief Executive Officer Gerard Mestrallet said today on a conference call. “There’s no risk.”

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