US$ 519 million for Ouarzazate Solar Complex


The World Bank approved US$ 519 million for phase two and three of Morocco’s Ouarzazate Solar project to help reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. The first phase, a 160 MW parabolic trough solar thermal power plant, is already under construction and will start operation in 2015.

Phase two and three will add additional 350 MW to that and should be fully operational in 2018. Phase two is expected to also use parabolic trough technology like the first plant and will have a capacity of 200 MW. The third project will probably be build using CSP tower plant design. Most CSP plants in the world are using parabolic trough collectors, since it is a well proven technology that is been operational for decades now. On the other hand tower plants can reach much higher operation temperatures, thus increasing the efficiency of the turbine significantly.

Once completed, the plant will provide electricity for approximately 1.1 million people. Morocco is the largest importer of energy in the Middle East and is depending on fossil fuel imports to generate over 97 % of its energy.

“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 World Bank currently has a portfolio of 22 projects in Morocco, amounting to a committed financing of US$ 2.44 billion, providing a diverse range of support in areas such as private sector, financial sector and governance reform, green growth and promotion of renewable energy, access to basic services such as rural roads, water, sanitation, the reduction of vulnerability and social exclusion, and improvements in agriculture and solid waste management.

Jan Gesthuizen