Morocco: World Bank support's solar plans

18. November 2011 | Top News, Markets & Trends | By:  Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger

The World Bank has approved a U.S.$297 million loan to Morocco to aid in the financing of the Ouarzazate Concentrated Solar Power Plant Project. This will be one of the first large-scale plants of its kind in North Africa.

Morocco's bold solar plan takes off with the World Bank loan. Image: Flickr/Felipe Skroski

The World Bank's announcement today backs Morocco's plans under the ambitious Middle East and North Africa Concentrated Solar Power Scale-Up Program. A U.S.$200 million loan will be provided by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the part of the Bank that lends to developing country governments, and another U.S.$97 million loan will come from the Clean Technology Fund.

The 500 megawatt (MW) Ouarzazate project is seen as an important step in the country's national plan to deploy 2,000MW of solar generation capacity by 2020. The World Bank has been supportive of Morocco's national solar plan since it was launched in 2009.

Today's announcement marks the significant loan move to co-finance the development of the project's first phase, the Ouarzazate Project Phase 1 parabolic trough plant through a Public Private Partnership between the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) and a private partner. Ouarzazate Phase 1 will involve the first 160 MW and will help Morocco avoid 240,000 tons of CO2 equivalent a year.

"The Ouarzazate first phase is a key milestone for the success of the Moroccan solar program," said Mustapha Bakkoury, President of MASEN. "While answering both energy and environmental concerns, it provides a strong opportunity for green growth, green job creation, and increased regional market integration. It will pave the way for the positive implementation of the regional initiatives sharing the same vision (Mediterranean Solar Plan, Desertec Industry Initiative, Medgrid, World Bank Arab World Initiative). The support of international financial institutions, like the World Bank, through development financing but also climate change dedicated financing, is essential to help bring the overall scheme to economic viability," added Bakkoury.

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