The Launch of Construction at Noor 1 Independent Solar Power Project in the Kingdom of Morocco
On Friday 10 May 2013 his Majesty King Mohammed VI attended the launch of construction of the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Independent Power Project. The 160 MWe Noor 1 CSP project is a greenfield IPP to be developed as the first project for the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MA SEN) in a series of several planned developments at Noor 1 Solar Complex. The Noor 1 complex is set to develop into a 500 MW solar park incorporating several utility-scale solar power plants using various solar technologies.
Noor 1 160MWe CSP IPP plant with 3 hours of thermal storage is today the world’s largest parabolic trough CSP power plant and the first utility size thermal solar generation project in Morocco. The project is located in Souss-Massa-Draa, province of Ouarzazate in Morocco, approximately 200 km south of Marrakesh. The 160 MW Noor 1 CSP IPP will be developed on a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis by ACWA Power Ouarzazate which has recently awarded an EPC contract to a consortium composed of spain’s TSK Electrónica y Electicidad, Acciona Infrastructuras, Acciona Ingeniería, and Sener Ingeniería y Sistemas. The EPC consortium will procure part of the scope locally in Morocco. The Operation and Maintenance will be undertaken by a consortium led by NOMAC, a subsidiary of ACWA Power and it is estimated that the commercial operation will begin in the second half of 2015. Masen will be the offtaker of the energy produced according to the 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
ACWA Power Ouarzazate “the project company” is owned by ACWA Power, Saudi Arabia; the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), Morocco; Aries and TSK both of Spain.
In addition to achieving local industrial integration, ACWA Power is seeking to collaborate with Moroccan companies, universities and research centers to transfer knowledge in solar power with the emphasis on not just localizing technology but to utilize efforts to develop and enhance technology with a view to developing intellectual property.
ACWA Power has already instated the development of a joint R&D program focusing on CSP between King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST), and Université Internationale de Rabat (UIR).
The operation of the plant will provide electricity to communities further afield and will ensure a reliable source and increased power supply to the neighboring communities; thereby facilitating the development and expansion of commercial and small industrial businesses. . In addition, the project will mitigate the negative impact on the environment by using concentrated solar energy technology which will reduce the emission of carbon dioxide equivalent of approximately 470,000 tons during each year of operation.
A targeted system of local recruitment and investment in human capital of the local workforce will increase the benefit to the local economy. Up to 1,000 workers will be employed during construction and 60 during operation.
Mohammed A. Abunayyan the Chairman of ACWA Power stated:
We at ACWA Power are proud of the fruitful cooperation with the concerned Moroccan entities, in both public and private sectors, and here I would like to commend the professional efforts of Masen, which managed the tender with full transparency in a record time and the ability to collect and manage a mixture of international financial institutions that each and every one of them had different and special requirements”. Mr. Abunayyan went on to say “We have been able, through this project, to effectively participate in the Kingdom of Morocco’s renewable energy strategy which has become a model for the development of renewable energy industry in terms of technology, implementation and cost.