Morocco seeks private investors for wind farms

MARRAKESH, MOROCCO - To reduce Morocco's dependence on foreign energy, the Moroccan government is formulating a comprehensive energy-reform strategy that focuses on conservation and renewable energy production. Morocco imports 96% of its energy from abroad at very high costs.

A proposed course of action calls for renewed efforts to invest in the energy sector, particularly in wind energy, through public-private partnerships, which have allowed both an increase in safety standards and a relative reduction in investment costs, making renewable energy a realistic and competitive alternative, especially when prices for oil and gas are at high levels.

Morocco has very strong potential for renewable energy projects.

Wind potential is particularly high, especially in the north and south of the country:

• Essaouira, Tangier and Tetouan have average wind speeds of 9.5 to 11 meters per second at 40 meters;

• Tarfaya, Taza and Dakhla have average wind speeds between 7.5 and 9.5 meters per second at 40 meters;

• Morocco has a total wind power potential of 7,936 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year;

• electricity consumption in Morocco in 2007 was 22.6 Twh;

• a detailed atlas of wind speed and patterns in Morocco was published in 1995 and updated in 2007;

• more than 50 wind-measurement stations were installed between 1990 and 2007.

Morocco is attempting to obtain private funding for the Tarfaya 300-megawatt (MW) wind farm project. Morocco's Office National de Electricite invited potential bidders for the Tarfaya wind farm project for a final discussion about project specifications and technical clarifications in the third week of October.

The winning bidder will build a 200-MW wind farm, which will begin operating in 2011. The developer will have the option of increasing the size of the wind farm to 300 MW at a later stage.



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