MASEN, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy has announced Saudi Arabia’s ACWA in a consortium with Spain’s TSK and Aries have been appointed to build and operate the 160-MW Ouarzazate CSP plant in southern Morocco.
The winning consortium beat 19 bidders selected in the first round of MASEN’s call for tenders and three in the second in the last quarter of 2010.
The Ouarzazate project will be one of the largest CSP plants in the world, with 160 MW of capacity and four hours of thermal storage using molten salts, which will enable the plant to dispatch energy on demand to cover peak-consumption hours even after sundown, a feature that other renewable energies cannot offer.
This is the first phase of a more ambitious plan to develop solar energy in Morocco in the Ouarzazate site and other regions in the country with financing support from the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
The three Spanish firms will provide ACWA, the consortium leader, with significant experience and know-how in engineering, constructing, commissioning and operating CSP plants with thermal energy storage, which they claim probably no others can provide.
The success of Spanish companies in this industry is a result of over 30 years’ of support for R&D and the commercial deployment of this technology given by from Spanish government in the last years. This has enabled Spanish companies to become as leaders in the global CSP market.
South Africa, the US, Australia, the UAE and India are already developing CSP projects in conjunction with Spain, while in the near term countries like France, Italy, Cyprus, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Chile are planning to develop their first projects.
The Ouarzazate plant will use the SENERtrough parabolic trough technology: a solar collector assembly developed by SENER, which has proven performance and is cost optimized having already been installed at some Spanish plants.
For additional information: