Morocco’s Solar Energy Agency has announced that the Saudi-led consortium ACWA has won the bid to build a 160MW concentrated solar power plant in Ourzazate. Although MASEN head Mustafa Bakkoury only made the official announcement at a recent conference, news of the win has been floating around for a couple of months.
Teaming up with Spanish firms Aries IS and TSKEE, the Saudi International Company for Water and Power will be responsible for the design, finance, construction, operation and maintenance of the plant. This consortium beat out two others with a more competitive price, and construction is expected to begin by the end of this year.
Although ACWA will sell their energy for roughly $0.19 per kilowatt hour, which is about four cents cheaper than either of the other competing consortiums proposed, according to Arabian Business, this price is considerably higher than the price of conventional energy.
However, the Moroccan government has vowed to subsidize the costs of solar energy production to ensure that state utilities are able to provide energy at the prices to which their customers are accustomed.
Just one of several plants planned for the 500MW Ourzazate solar field, the 160MW CSP plant will require an initial $1 billion investment, roughly 1/9th of the total planned investment.
Another two tenders are expected to follow soon: one for a 50MW CSP plant and another for a 50MW photovoltaic plant, both of which are also slated to be built in Ourzazate.
Morocco has plans to generate 2GW of solar energy by 2020 under the Morocco Solar Plan and has teamed up with the Desertec group to export at least some of that energy to Europe via cables in the Mediterranean Sea.
Above image by Tafline Laylin for illustrative purposes only