LONDON — Morocco awarded two of the world’s largest solar thermal power projects to Saudi developer ACWA Power International and Sener Ingenieria y Sistemas SA of Spain.
The partners beat five groups for the contract to develop the 200-megawatt NOOR II and 150-megawatt NOOR III plants near Ouarzazate, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy said on its website. The announcement comes after financing deals with donors such as the World Bank closed on Dec. 19, it said.
The facilities in southern Morocco will be among the largest biggest solar thermal power plants globally as only two larger ones operate. They are part of the country’s plan to install 2,000 megawatts of solar capacity by 2020. The technology involves the use of mirrors that concentrate sunlight to generate steam and run power turbines.
ACWA is already developing the 160-megawatt NOOR I project for about $1 billion after winning the initial tender in November 2012. Three groups of companies were shortlisted for the second phase and four for the third one in August 2013.
The 200-megawatt parabolic trough plant will be able to store power for seven hours while the 150-megawatt project involves a solar tower with seven or eight hours of storage. The facilities will earn peak power prices of 1.36 dirhams (15 U.S. cents) and 1.42 dirhams a kilowatt-hour, respectively.
A fourth and last phase of the NOOR plan will involve at least 50 megawatts of photovoltaic capacity, the agency said.
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