Morocco’s 500MW CSP plant receives US$297 million World Bank loan

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The World Bank (WB) has approved a US$297 million loan to help finance the 500MW Desertec concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in Ouarzazate, Morocco.

WB’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development arm will contribute US$200 million towards the loan, with the remaining US$97 million coming from its Clean Technology Fund. All US$297 million is going towards completing the first phase of development and adding 160MW of capacity by 2014.

By securing the loan, Desertec is one step closer to starting work on Ouarzazate, which, when completed, will be the largest in the world. The record-breaking project is also set to play a central role in Morocco’s 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.

“Ouarzazate demonstrates Morocco’s commitment to low-carbon growth and could demonstrate the enormous potential of solar power in the Middle East and North Africa,” said World Bank Group president Robert Zoellick. “During a time of transformation in North Africa, this solar project could advance the potential of the technology, create many new jobs across the region, assist the European Union to meet its low-carbon energy targets, and deepen economic and energy integration in the Mediterranean.”

“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 added. “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.”

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