Morocco's agency for solar power Masen has opened the tender for project developers for a 400MW solar plant in the centre of the country.
The move comes just weeks after the completion of the first phase of the country’s ambitious project to generate half its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
The projected Noor Midelt site will cover around 6,000 acres 15 miles north east of the town of Midelt. Construction is expected to start in 2017.
At the end of 2015 Morocco opened the first phase of its Noor-Ouarzazate solar power complex. The project has received $519m in finance from the World Bank.
Morocco, the MENA region’s largest energy importer, is seeking to reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels, which currently account for 97 per cent of energy generated. The Noor-Ouarzazate complex is located near the town of Ourzazate on the edge of the Sahara desert.
An initial 160MW plant has been completed and further parts of the complex, including solar parabolic troughs and a solar energy tower that will help generate a further 350MW of power, are currently under construction.
“Morocco stands at the forefront of climate-friendly policies in the region,” said Inger Andersen, World Bank regional vice president for the MENA region. “The country is well-positioned to benefit from its headstart at a time when other regional powers are beginning to think more seriously about their own renewable energy programs.”
According to the World Bank the Noor-Ouarzazate solar plant is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 700,000 tons per year while aiding energy security, job creation, and energy exports.
“Apart from creating jobs, the construction of the plant and the development of Morocco’s Solar Plan will establish a future source of reliable green energy,” said Simon Gray, World Bank country director for the Maghreb.
“The Noor-Ouarzazate Solar Complex alone will supply power to 1.1m Moroccans by 2018.”