EDF-led consortium wins Moroccan tender for 800 MW CSP-PV project with price of $0.070/kWh

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The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) has awarded the contract to build an 800 MW CSP-PV power plant 20km north of Midelt, in central Morocco, to an international consortium formed by French energy company EDF. UAE solar developer Masdar and Moroccan independent power producer Green of Africa are the consortium partners.

EDF said in a press release, construction on the Noor Midelt I project is planned to begin in the fourth quarter and completion is scheduled for 2022. No further details were revealed of final prices and the tendering process, which began in late 2016.

MASEN said the plant will sell power for MAD0.68/kWh ($0.07). By comparison, the tender for a 700 MW CSP project in Dubai – Phase IV of the 5 GW Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park – saw a final price of $0.073/kWh. That CSP section of the huge solar park, however, was not tendered in a bundle alongside a PV project.

MASEN added, the Noor Midelt I scheme will require investment of MAD7.57 billion ($785 million), with that sum provided by German development bank KfW, the European Investment Bank, the French Development Agency, the European Commission, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

In June 2017, MASEN shortlisted five consortia for the project. In addition to the EDF group, one was arranged by Saudi energy giant ACWA; another was formed by Engie, Nareva Holding S.A., SolarReserve LLC and Solaire Direct S.A.S; a German consortium comprised Innogy SE, Belectric GmbH and Ferrostaal Industrial Projects GmbH; and another included Japan’s JGC Corporation and Abener Energia S.A.

The Noor Midelt I solar complex will consist of two CSP plants, each with a generation capacity of 190 MW and a minimum of five hours’ thermal storage. The generation capacity of the two PV components, assessed at around 210 MW each, will take the total capacity of the complex to 800 MW.

Morocco’s solar project pipeline moving forward

The project will be developed through a public-private partnership between MASEN and the consortium under a build, own, operate and transfer model. A special purpose vehicle will be created to build and operate the plants and sell the electricity generated to MASEN under a 25-year PPA.

The Noor Midelt I plant in the high plains surrounding the Moulouya River and between the middle and high Atlas Mountains, is among the projects planned by MASEN as part of the Noor Solar Plan to develop a minimum capacity of 2 GW by next year.

Other projects include the 170 MW Noor PV I project, which is the solar portion and fourth phase of the 580 MW Ouarzazate Solar Power Station, a CSP-PV solar complex in the Drâa-Tafilalet region of central Morocco; the 120 MW Noor Tafilalet plant, tendered in 2017; the 200 MW Noor Argana project, expected to be tendered this year; and the Noor Atlas projects, a 200 MW scheme to deploy seven PV plants in the south and east of the country.

Of the 2 GW envisaged by the plan, 680 MW have already been commissioned in Ouarzazate, Laayoune and Boujdour.