Consortiums led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power and Spain’s Abengoa have bid the lowest to build two solar plants with a combined capacity of up to 350 megawatts, sources involved in the deal said.
Results of tenders for constructing and operating the two plants near the city of Ouarzazate, one of at least 200 MW and the other of at least 100 MW, are expected in the next few weeks, the sources said. Then plants are scheduled to start generating power in 2017.
The two plants are the second phase of the 500 MW Ouarzazate project, which is part of a government plan to produce two gigawatts of solar power by 2020, equivalent to about 38 per cent of Morocco’s current installed generation capacity.
Moroccan solar energy agency Masen said consortiums led by Spain’s Abengoa, GDF’s International Power and ACWA Power had been pre-selected for the 200 MW (Noor II) tender.
The three groups have also pre-qualified for the 100 MW (Noor III) tender, along with another consortium led by Electricite de France.
The consortium led by ACWA group, which includes Spanish international engineering company Sener, bid $0.1601 per kilowatt-hour in power tariffs from the completed plant, the lowest bid received by Masen to build Noor II, the sources said.
Abengoa’s consortium made the cheapest offer of $0.1672 per Kwh to build Noor III.
If Masen decides to combine the bids for the two plants, the ACWA bids overall would beat Abengoa’s, the sources said.
“The two options have been considered. We are studying the two tenders separately as the technology is not the same, but we are also considering combining the two bids as almost the same bidders have been selected for the two plants,” a source from Masen told Reuters.
Masen has chosen parabolic mirror technology for the 200 MW solar plant, while the 100 MW plant will be built as a solar power tower.
Banking sources have said the estimated cost is 1.7 billion euros ($2.1 billion) – one billion for the 200 MW plant and 700 million for the 100 MW plant.
To finance the plants, Morocco has secured loans of $519 million loan from the World Bank, 654 million euros from German state-owned bank KFW, and the rest from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Commission and European Investment Bank.
ACWA Power is already building a 160 MW plant in the first stage of the project in the Ouarzazate area.