MASEN and ACWA-led group sign US$1 billion PPA for Morocco’s first CSP plant

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The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with a consortium led by Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power International for electricity generated by a proposed 160MW CSP plant in Morocco. The deal is worth US$1 billion.

The PPA was signed by Mustapha Bakkoury, President of the Management Board of MASEN and by Mohammed A. Abunayyan, Chairman of ACWA Power on behalf of the consortium.

The consortium — which is composed of ACWA Power, Aries Ingeniería y Sistemas and TSK Electrónica y Electricidad — was named as the winning bidder to develop the project in September. It won the bidding process after it offered a tariff which was 28.8% lower than the one offered by the second bidder.

The 160MW Ouarzazate CSP Independent Power Project — which ACWA Power claims will represent Morocco’s first solar thermal plant when built as well as the largest CSP plant in the world — is part of MASEN’s larger Independent Power Project (IPP) which aims to develop a 500MW solar park at the Ouarzazate Solar Complex. Located about 200km south of Marrakesh, the solar park will be composed of several utility-scale PV power plants using various solar technologies.

The Ouarzazate CSP Independent Power Project will be the first plant within the complex. It will have a storage capacity of three hours which will be developed on a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis.

The ACWA-led group has already selected a consortium composed of Spain's TSK Electrónica y Electricidad, Acciona Infrastructuras, Acciona Ingeniería, and Sener Ingeniería y Sistemas as EPC contractor. Meanwhile, the operation and maintenance of the plant will be undertaken by another consortium led by First National Operation and Maintenance Company (NOMAC), a 100% owned subsidiary of ACWA Power.

The ACWA-led consortium is aiming to close financing by the end of 2012. It has already secured a €100 million loan from German development bank Kfw but investment costs are estimated to amount to €750 million.

Commercial operation of the plant is expected in the second half of 2015.

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