The African Development Bank (AfDB) is close to approving a US$497 million financing deal for Morocco’s 500MW Desertec concentrated solar power (CSP) plant. The final decision is likely to be made before the end of the year and takes Desertec one step closer to securing the US$9 billion required to build the record-breaking system.
The announcement comes less than a week after the World Bank (WB) approved a US$297 million loan for the Ouarzazate-based project, which will be the largest in the world when all phases are completed in 2016; the initial building phase will add 160MW and is scheduled to go online in 2014.
Ouarzazate is set to play a central role in Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy’s (MASEN) solar roadmap – by 2020 the Moroccan Government aims to increase its solar capacity to 2000MW – while also boosting the economy by creating jobs and improving energy security and exports.
“While answering both energy and environmental concerns, it [Ouarzazate] provides a strong opportunity for green growth, green job creation, and increased regional market integration,” MASEN president Mustapha Bakkoury said. “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.”