Moroccan electricity and water utility company ONEE is taking the final steps to shape the 200 MW Noor Argana solar power tender, Moroccan daily Le Matin reported in its Wednesday edition.
Unnamed sources from ONEE told Le Matin that the company is just days away from launching the feasibility study for the project whose final capacity will range from 200 MW to 225 MW, instead of the initially planned 125 MW.
The study will look into the Tensift, Errhamna, Chichaoua and Boumalne areas in western Morocco to determine the exact sites for the project.
ONEE is also negotiating with three European financing institutions to help foot the bill for the project whose price tag now stands at EUR 350 million (USD 315.5m). These are German government-owned development bank KfW, the European Union's European Investment Bank and French Agence francaise de developpement (AFD), Le Matin has learned.
Once up and running, Noor Argana is estimated to annually produce 320 GWh of electricity while saving 204,090 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
The call for pre-qualification bids for Noor-Argana will take place at the end of 2016 or at the start of 2017. The contract for the development will use the engineering procurement construction (EPC) model. Commissioning is scheduled to start in 2018.
Noor-Argana represents the third phase of ONEE's photovoltaic programme for 500 MW by 2020.
The first phase of ONEE's programme, Noor Tafilalet, focuses on assuring electricity supply for regions "at the end of the line" or regions powered by 60 kV lines and sited at a long distance from transformation posts. The phase comprises three photovoltaic projects of 25 MW each, to be sited in the regions of Erfoud, Zagora and Missour.
The pre-qualification tender for Noor-Tafilalet was launched in July 2015 and the first project is expected to be put on stream at the start of 2017 at the latest. The overall cost of Noor-Tafilalet is estimated at EUR 158 million, of which EUR 148.95 million will be provided by the World bank.
The pre-qualification tender for the 200 MW second phase (or Noor Atlas) was initially expected to open at the start of 2016. It is now expected to be launched in the second half of 2016.
All three tenders have to be completed within the 5-year transition period, during which ONEE will transfer, with a few exceptions, all activities related to renewable energy to Masen which will soon become the Moroccan agency for sustainable development.
(USD 1 = EUR 0.901)
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