Morocco is now preparing to launch the concentrating solar thermal power, with a CSP plant in Ouarzazate, to which aspire Abengoa and ACS, among others.
The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen) is running the first award of a concentrated solar power project and it is expected that the winning consortium will receive for their produce between 140 and 160 euros per megawatt hour (MWh).
The Moroccan concentrating solar thermal power plant, located in the province of Ouarzazate, is the first phase of a plan that aims to have 500 MW of concentrated solar thermal and photovoltaic solar energy in 2015. It is the start of Plan Solar Moroccan, presented in 2009 with 2,000 MW contemplated of this type installed in 2020, with an investment estimated at 9,000 million dollars.
After an initial screening from 19 applicants, Masen released in late 2010 the four final bids, of which only three are in contention: the one led by Abengoa (allied with Mitsui and the national carrier of Abu Dhabi), a consortium involving two Spanish engineering, Aries and TSK, and the construction formed by the ACS in partnership with Italy’s Enel. The local press takes Orascom for favorite. The Egyptian was presented in partnership with Germany’s Solar Millennium, which defaulted in December.
Morocco, which like Spain has a problem of energy dependence, will pay lower premiums for three factors, according to industry experts, the development of solar thermal technology in recent years, the most solar radiation in the country (about 3,000 hours a year compared to 2,500 hours in the southern half of Spain, which houses most of the solar thermal projects) and, especially, the larger size of the CSP, which can lower the cost of generation. In Spain, the CSP can have no more than 50 MW of power if they want to charge premium.