November 23 (SeeNews) - Morocco has officially announced plans to continue its renewable energy development policy beyond the 2020 horizon with about 2,500 MW wind, solar and hydro capacity to come online between 2021 and 2025.
Wind power is seen installing 1,000 MW new capacity between 2021 and 2015 while solar will contribute at least 1,100 MW and hydro will add some 450 MW.
These new goals were revealed by Minister of Energy, Abdelkader Amara, at a ministerial meeting of the International Energy Agency (IEA) held last week in Paris, local daily Le Matin reports.
GOALS AND MEGAWATTS
In total, between 2015 and 2025, Morocco is planning to boost its renewable energy generation capacity by 6,760 MW, in which solar power will bring the majority with 3,120 MW, wind will add 2,740 MW more and hydro will grow by 900 MW, Amara said in Paris, adding that the investment will total some USD 25 billion (EUR 23.5 bn).
At present, Morocco has 1,770 MW of hydro power plants, 800 MW of wind power and only 20 MW of solar power in operation.
Under the African country’s current energy strategy, renewables should account for 42% of the total electricity generation capacity in 2020. Morocco has launched integrated programmes for the development of 2,000 MW in each of the wind and solar sectors with a total investment of about USD 13 billion.
With the new additions planned for after 2021, the total wind power capacity installed in the country should go over the 3,000 MW mark while solar will hit at least 3,140 MW in 2025.
Besides the 800 MW of wind farms which are already producing electricity, Morocco currently has 550 MW more under development and another 850 MW are soon to be awarded in a tender. The process will be finalised by the end of the year and contracts will be signed in the first quarter of 2016.
Wind power could be a major contributor in the electricity sector of Morocco. According to data presented by minister Amara in Madrid last June, the country’s onshore potential is estimated at 25 GW, of which 6 GW could be installed by 2030. The average wind speed is 5.3 metres per second (m/s) at more than 90% of the country’s territory, according to the wind atlas, developed by the Moroccan Renewable Energy Development Center (CDER). The Tanger and Tetouan region (North of Morocco) measured particularly high at 8 to 11 m/s and 7 to 8.5 m/s were recorded for Dakhla, Tarfaya, Taza and Essaouira.
The offshore potential along the 3,500 km coast is estimated at 250 GW.
Since 2000, when the first wind farm in Morocco - the 50 MW Abdelkhalek Torres project, started turning, the sector has moved up on a steep learning curve. It had already achieved grid parity and in recent years, it has become an investment magnet with significant increase in projects.
Solar is also taking off, enabled by one of the highest rates of solar insolation of any country — about 3,000 hours per year of sunshine.
Even though, Morocco has only 20 MW of solar power currently in operation, as part of the Ain Beni Mathar integrated thermo solar combined cycle power plant, the country is soon to become home to the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the world.
The trading city of Ouarzazate, nicknamed the “door of the desert”, is planned to overlook 33 sq km (3,300 ha) of crescent-shaped solar mirrors for a total installed capacity of over 500 MW. Devolopers are currently putting the finishing touches on the first phase (Noor 1 - 160 MW), which is expected to go live by the end of the year.
The thermosolar cylindrical parabolic troughs at the 160-MW power plant will be coupled with three hours of energy storage capability. The power plant has contracted a sale price of MAD 1.6 (USD 0.159/EUR 0.150) per kWh and is expected to start feeding electricity to the grid by the end of the year.
Noor II, a 200-MW power plant with thermosolar cylindrical parabolic troughs and seven hours of energy storage capability, will sell its electricity output at MAD 1.36 per kWh.
Noor III, an installed capacity of 150 MW which will employ central tower technology with salt receivers and seven to eight hours of energy storage capability, will sell power at MAD 1.42 per kWh.
All three projects are being developed by two companies of the Saudi Arabian group Acwa Power.
In hydro, Morocco has 1,770 MW in operation. A further 450 MW, of which 100 MW by private investors, are expected to join the grid by 2020, and 450 MW more are now planned for construction between 2021 and 2025.
(USD 1 = EUR 0.942)
(MAD 1 = USD 0.100 / EUR 0.094)