- Category: Business
04 Nov 2009
- Published on Wednesday, 04 November 2009 12:17
- Hits (3959)
Average sunshine in Morocco is over 3,000 hours per year
or over 8 hours a day. Above is the city of Marrakech.
Moroccan officials presented on Monday what would be among the world’s largest solar energy projects – a staggering 2,000 megawatts of solar generation capacity estimated to cost around 70 billion Moroccan dirhams or $9 billion.
The plan, formally presented to Moroccan King Mohamed VI, will erect solar in five sites within the north African country by the year 2020.
Broad strokes for the massive plan were made by Amina Benkhadra, Moroccan energy minister, in a project presentation ceremony in Ouarzazate, the capital of Ouarzazate province, one of the five solar development sites.
According to the National Electricity Utility, the project might use photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies that will cover 10,000 hectares in Ouarzazate, Ain Bni Mathar, Foum Al Oued, Boujdour and Sebkhat Tah.
The first plant will be commissioned on 2015, and the entire project in 2019. Once completed, the solar project alone will provide 18 percent of Morocco’s annual electricity generation.
The government has set up the Morrocan Agency for Solar Energy to lead the project, which will be a public-private venture.
The agency’s founding shareholders include the ministries of economy and finance, and of energy, mines, water and environment; the National Elecricity Utility, the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development and the Energy Investment Company. They have signed a formal agreement for the project.
The agency will study different aspects of the program before assigning projects to investors that will undergo a competitive selection process.
Pre-qualification of candidates will start in June 2010, with request for proposals to be launched the following September.
Morocco currently sources 65 percent of its energy from fossil fuels, more than half of this from coal. It is said to be the only country in North Africa that does not produce its own oil.
But average sunshine on the country is over 3,000 hours per year or over 8 hours a day.
The national utility said by 2020, renewable energy will represent 42 percent of its total electric installed capacity.
The Moroccan king has reportedly issued a new energy strategy which considers the development of renewable energies as a priority for sustainable development.
- Eric Dorente