EDF to enter Moroccan wind market with plans for 150MW project

A consortium headed up by EDF is planning to develop a 150MW wind farm in northern Morocco, the first venture into Morocco by the French energy giant.

EDF, along with its consortium partner, Japan’s Mitsui, was selected by Morocco’s national electricity office, Office National d’Electricité (ONE), as the preferred bidder for the Taza wind project, in the north of the country.

Located to the east of Fès, the Taza wind project will comprise 50 Alstom wind turbines of 3MW each. The consortium has not revealed a timescale for the project, but it has agreed to subcontract at least 30% of the construction works to Moroccan companies.

Morocco, which is heavily dependent on energy imports, is keen to exploit its wind and solar potential, with plans to develop at least 2GW of wind energy and 2GW of solar by 2020.

The Government launched a public private partnership scheme for the Taza project in 2009. This will be followed by a tender process for an additional 850MW wind capacity later in 2012. Prequalification for the tender is currently in progress.

Fabienne Demol, an executive vice president at EDF’s renewables arm, Energies Nouvelles, said. “We are very happy to have the chance to be involved in this high quality wind project, which will be the first achievement of EDF Energies Nouvelles in Morocco.”

He added: “ONE’s decision on the Taza project is also a great opportunity for EDF to build a long term partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco and to participate in the creation of renewable projects in a country with high development potential.”

In an effort to solidify its presence in the north African nation, EDF has created of a 100% subsidiary in Casablanca, EDF EN Maroc. The company said the new subsidiary will drive the development of EDF’s solar and wind ambitions in Morocco.

EDF EN Maroc and Mitsui will be responsible for the design, financing, development and construction of the Taza wind project and will operate the facility under a 20 year agreement.

The award comes just a week after EDF and Alstom scored a major coup at France’s first round of offshore wind tendering, scooping three of the four tenders awarded. The two companies, in partnership with Dong Energy, won the right to develop 1.4GW of offshore wind off the French coastline.

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