Morocco to launch new CSP tenders

Morocco will by the end of the year award the rights to the second concentrated solar power (CSP) plant destined for Ouarzazate, and will follow up next year with another major CSP tender at a separate site.

The second phase at Ouarzazate, south central Morocco, will be 300-340MW in size, bringing the full complex to about 500MW, according to press reports.

In 2014 the government will put to tender a 400-500MW plant near the city of Oujda, in northeastern Morocco, and some 800km from Ouarzazate. Together, the two projects will take Morocco roughly halfway to its 2GW target for 2020.

The Desertec Industrial Initiative is pursuing a separate 150MW CSP plant near Ouarzazate.

Late last year the Moroccan government signed a €1bn ($1.33bn) 25-year power purchase agreement with a consortium led by Saudi Arabian contractor ACWA Power for the first Ouarzazate plant.

Working alongside a list of partners that includes Spain’s Acciona and Sener, ACWA will pursue the project under a build, own, operate and transfer contract, and maintain it via its NOMAC subsidiary.

Over the weekend Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and public pension agency announced they had taken a 19.4% in ACWA, which has rapidly become a major player in the expanding CSP sector.

ACWA chairman Mohammad Abunayyan says the new investors will allow the company to accelerate its plan to become “the prime international developer of power generation and water desalination plants, both in Saudi Arabia and globally”.

In addition to Morocco and Saudi Arabia, which intends to build 25GW of CSP by 2030, ACWA is also the preferred bidder for the 50MW Bokpoort CSP project in South Africa.

Last July, ACWA purchased a 42% stake in a 60MW PV array in Bulgaria, indicating that its solar ambitions are not limited to CSP.