Iberdrola wind project

French energy firm EDF Renewables and Japanese trading house Mitsui are about the start building the Taza windfarm in north Morocco.

The first phase will consist of 27 of GE’s 3.2-85 onshore wind turbines which will generate 87MW. The project will benefit from a 20-year power purchase agreement with the National Offices of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) and the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN).

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Project finance will be provided by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation; Nippon Export and Investment Insurance; Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation; MUFG Bank; and (Moroccan bank) Bank of Africa.

EDF Renewables and Mitsui & Co respectively represent 60% and 40% of the private investment in the project. The Moroccan public part – from the ONEE, MASEN and Hassan II Fund, established in 2000 to support investment in Morocco’s infrastructure and structuring projects – could hold up to 35% of the project company’s capital.

Once established, the Taza Wind Farm is intended to contribute to the region’s social and economic development, creating jobs for about 500 people during its construction phase.

The first phase of the wind farm should become operational at the beginning of 2022. At that point, the power generated will be equivalent to the annual consumption of about 350,000 people, around 70% of the population of Taza Province.

GE Renewable Energy noted that this project adds to its 200MW that it has already built at the Akhfenir wind farm in Morocco, which has been in operation since 2014.

Manar al-Moneef, GE Renewable Energy’s Onshore Wind regional leader for MENAT, said: “Morocco, which has a great potential for wind energy and has been an early mover in the journey toward renewable energy integration, has achieved great progress toward its renewable energy targets. We are thrilled to be partnering with EDF and Mitsui & Co., Ltd and to reinforce our position in the country.”

EDF Group senior executive vice-president of renewable energies and CEO of EDF Renewable, Bruno Bensasson, thanked the Kingdom of Morocco, its administrative services, the local authorities and partners such as ONEE and MASEN for their support throughout the development of the project despite the global health crises. 

“This wind farm demonstrates our commitment to supporting the Kingdom of Morocco’s energy transition. The project fits with the goals in the EDF Group’s 2030 CAP strategic plan of doubling its renewable energy capacity worldwide from 28GW to 50GW nets, between 2015 and 2030,″ Bensasson said.

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Taza Wind Farm forms part of the Kingdom of Morocco’s 2009 national energy strategy which aimed to increase the country’s renewable energy to 42% of its installed electricity capacity by 2020. This goal was raised at COP22, held in Marrakech, Morocco in 2015 to 52% (10GW) by 2030.

A 2019 World Bank analysis of emerging markets for offshore wind, undertaken by the World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme in partnership with the International Finance Corporation, showed while Morocco has recently increased its solar and wind production it still has a long way to go. The country has the technical potential to produce up to 20GW of fixed plus floating solar though, despite its enormous capacity, floating wind will just have to join the long queue for renewable energy deployment.

Originally published by Theresa Smith, esi-africa.com