Morocco launches solar mega-project at Ouarzazate

Morocco on Friday officially launched the construction of a 160-megawatt solar power plant near the desert city of Ouarzazate, the first in a series of vast solar projects planned in the country. The largest of its kind in the world, according to Mustapha Bakkoury, the head of Morocco’s solar energy agency MASEN, the thermo-solar plant will cost 7 billion dirhams (630 million euros) and is slated for completion in 2015, the official MAP news agency reported.

The ambitious project “reinforces the will… to optimise the exploitation of Morocco’s natural resources, to preserve its environment… and sustain its development,” Bakkoury said at the ceremony which was attended by King Mohammed VI.

A consortium led by Saudi developer ACWA Power won the contract to build the plant, near Morocco’s desert gateway city, last September. The World Bank, the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank are helping to finance the solar complex.

It is the first of a two-phase project, due for completion in 2020, that is expected to cover 3,000 hectares and have a generation capacity of 500 megawatts, enough to met the electricity needs of Ouarzazate’s 1.5 million residents. Via Morocco launches solar mega-project at Ouarzazate.

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