MOROCCO: EDF, Masdar and Green of Africa to build Noor Midelt solar park

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MOROCCO: EDF, Masdar and Green of Africa to build Noor Midelt solar park©Jenson/Shutterstock

The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen) has chosen a consortium composed of EDF Renewables, Masdar and the Moroccan company Green of Africa. Together, the three companies will build the 800 MW Noor Midelt concentrated solar power plant.

New developments in the Noor Midelt solar project in central Morocco. Following an international call for tenders, the Moroccan Sustainable Energy Agency (Masen) chose a consortium composed of EDF Renouvelables, a subsidiary of Électricité de France (EDF), Masdar, an Emirian company, and the Moroccan company Green of Africa.

Initially, five consortia were selected by Masen in the first selection phase. This included, for example, the consortium formed by the Saudi company Acwa Power and the American company General Electric. Another team consisted of International Power, a subsidiary of the French group Engie, the Moroccan company Nareva Holding, the American SolarReserve LLC and the French Solaire Direct S.A.S.

The selected consortium (EDF, Masdar and Green of Africa) is responsible for building a concentrated solar power plant in the Noor Midelt region. It is an installation in which solar radiation is concentrated at one point by mirrors and thus produces heat. The heat is used to generate steam, which drives a turbine to generate electricity. The Noor Midelt concentrated solar park will therefore produce 800 MW.

A technology already used elsewhere in Africa

“By combining photovoltaic and CSP (concentrated solar energy) technologies in the same installation, the proposed plant will have improved efficiency and storage capacity that will allow it to produce electricity at a competitive price all day and up to five hours after sunset,” says EDF.

It will not be the first concentrated solar power plant to be built on the African continent. Three months ago, Engie commissioned one in Kathu, in the Northern Cape of South Africa. It has 384,000 mirrors installed over an area of approximately 4.5 km2. The entire system produces 100 MW. The project is part of the South African Renewable Energy Supply Programme (REIPPP). Its objective is to encourage independent power producers (IPPs) to invest in Nelson Mandela’s country.

A project supported by several development partners

Noor Midelt’s solar project represents an important step for Morocco in its energy transition strategy. The Cherifian kingdom thus aims to increase the share of renewable energies in its electricity mix to 52% by 2030. Construction of the Noor Midelt Concentrating Solar Power Plant will begin early in the last quarter of 2019, with delivery scheduled for 2022.

The project is supported by the World Bank, which has invested 1.17 billion Moroccan dirhams ($125 million). The African Development Bank (AfDB) is also supporting the project with a USD 250 million loan.

Jean Marie Takouleu


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