Major European energy companies are gaining interest in Morocco’s developing plans to invest US$ 9 billion in a solar energy programme over the next 10 years. GDF Suez, Total, Areva and St Gobain are among the interested parties.
The plan centres on a solar power plant generating 20 – 40 MW and exporting approximately 4 MW to France. The project is hoped to be the precursor to five other solar projects aimed at exporting power supplies to Europe, and the Moroccan government is making moves to secure financial investment. Another project in the pipeline is a 500 MW solar power plant – currently attracting the bids of more than nine international companies. Neighbouring Tunisia has also presented plans for up to 40 renewable energy projects.
The largest and most complex solar project is Desertec, which will aim to tap into and harness some of the 630,000 terawatt hours of sunlight per year experienced in North Africa. By way of comparison, Europe consumes 4000 terawatt hours of energy each year. The project isn’t planned for construction for at least two more years, but currently has partners such as Deutsche Bank and Siemens. The solar cell market is a strongly growing one, and if the project goes ahead as planned, it would mark a large step towards the generation of environmentally sustainable power on a huge scale.
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