A loan to the value of $25-million has been granted to Morocco for investment in renewable-energy projects to help the country generate solar power through an innovative hybrid concentrated solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) solution.
The loan was granted by global fast-tracked climate financing instrument the Climate Investment Funds Clean Technology Fund (CIF CTF). Phase 1 of the CSP project is being supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank, with an additional allocation of $25-million in CTF resources.
The project consists of two separate CSP plants, each with 150 MW to 190 MW capacity and a minimum of five hours of thermal storage.
The envisaged installed capacity of the PV component could reach 150 MW to 210 MW, making the total capacity of each of the proposed plants 300 MW to 400 MW, and the total capacity of this first phase between 600 MW and 800 MW.
The project’s innovative hybrid solar design is also built in a unique public–private partnership between the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen) and private- sector sponsors, with a build, own, operate and transfer project structure and implementation approach.
Selected sponsors are expected to form a special-purpose company to build and operate the plants and sell the generated electricity to Masen under a 25-year power purchase agreement.Different Bidders
The process will be designed to allow for the awarding of the plants to different bidders. The support from the CTF and the AfDB is critical in driving down the project’s capital costs and lowering the levelised cost of electricity.
AfDB climate change and green growth director Anthony Nyong says that, in 2015, there was an important shift in CSP investment from the developed to the developing world, particularly in Morocco.
He adds that Morocco’s Noor CSP programme under the CTF, for which the AfDB serves as an implementing agency, has been a “critical element” of that shift. “This new project, which will be modelled on the Noor operational and financial structure, will increase the development of solar energy and further help diversify the country’s energy mix and enhance its energy security,” Nyong says, adding that the AfDB believes that the project can serve as a model for other countries in the region and beyond.
The project will significantly contribute to Morocco’s achievement of its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement, including its goal to achieve 52% of installed capacity from renewable energy, with 20% from solar, by 2030. Morocco’s solar plan will also contribute to industrial development and competitiveness, and could create about 30 000 jobs.
AfDB CIF programme coordinator and senior climate finance officer Leandro Azevedo says that, until now, CSP has been the dominant renewable-energy technology, which assures electricity during peak hours through through the addition of a PV component.