a consortium led by ACWA Power, a leading water and power developer, owner and operator based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with international operations in 9 countries, and SENER, the Spanish engineering and construction company, as technology provider was announced as preferred bidder to develop, construct, own and operate the Independent Power Projects of Noor II (200MW) and Noor III (150MW) located in Ouarzazate (500 km south of Rabat) in the Kingdom of Morocco.
Both projects will be constructed in parallel and constitutes the 2nd phase of the development of the Noor Solar Complex, promoted by MASEN, the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy as part of the Moroccan government plan to produce 2 gigawatts of solar power by 2020, equivalent to about 38 percent of Morocco’s current installed generation capacity.
An ACWA Power led consortium is already constructing the 1st phase of the same complex (160MW Noor I CSP project) and with this new additions will bring the installed capacity at the complex to a total of 510MW, making this the largest solar power complex in the world.
The selection of ACWA Power was a result of an international tender, where 4 Consortiums submitted technical proposals in March 2014 and financial offers in September 2014. The preferred bidder announcement comes after a rigorous evaluation process under the rules of the World Bank, which took in consideration the lowest power tariff for the kilowatt-hour produced, combined with the best state-of-art technical solution provided. In its proposal ACWA Power Consortium also committed to source a minimum of 35% of the scope of the projects by value from the local Moroccan contractors and manufacturing industry as a means of industrial integration and support to the local economy.
Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power said: “We are particularly delighted to be selected to deliver these two projects as it is part of the visionary and ambitious renewable energy program of Morocco; a country that is not only showing leadership in reducing carbon emission by utilizing renewable resources but is also displaying what is achievable through a well-executed transparent competitive tendering process. We are very pleased to demonstrate that once again we have lived up to our commitment of delivering reliable and sustainable electricity at the lowest kWh tariff. This type of project that is capital intensive and with a 25-year commitment necessitates a sustainable approach, a shared vision and common ambition. We thus strongly believe in the intrinsic benefit of maximizing local content of at least 35% of the total cost of the project, maximizing the generation of local employment and in developing the community surrounding us together with the solar power plant projects via responsible social contribution and action.”
Thamer Alsharhan, the Managing Director of ACWA Power, said: “We are proud to be selected by MASEN to develop phase II of Noor Solar Power Complex at Ouarzazate. As a global company from Saudi Arabia these projects are well aligned with ACWA Power’s business model based on a combination of trust, vision, lasting partnerships, superior economic and operational performance, creativity and transparency to bring technologically appropriate and economically viable responses for the development of communities which also contribute to the improvement and preservation of the
environment. As we are doing on the Noor I project, we will continue to ensure the socio-economic development of the neighboring communities and the region at large.”
Having accumulated solid experience in the development of complex and cutting-edge fuel-efficient fossil fuel power and water plants of very large capacities in the Arabian Gulf, ACWA Power was able to export its vision to sustainability; reviving the solar thermal power technologies, which generate fully dispatch-able electricity just as any other fossil fuel power plant, toward achieving near grid parity tariff with the use only of the heat of the sun.
For the Noor II and Noor III projects, ACWA Power delivered the best offer among the four prequalified tenders. ACWA Power offered a power tariff per kWh of 1.36 MAD (circa 15.67 $cent) kWh for Noor II and 1.42 MAD (circa 16.31$cent) per kWh for Noor III in the combined offers, which will allow Morocco to save 1.1 billion MAD (132 million USD) in comparison with the second lowest.
Moreover, Noor II and Noor III projects are equipped with thermal storage capacity of approx. 7 hours each, enabling these plants to dispatch a record-high amount of power generation, beyond day time, well into the night, helping significantly Morocco to meet its high demand for electricity during peak hours. Like Noor 1, the two plants use Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), where Noor II with a capacity of 200 MW will use the technology of parabolic trough collectors, while Noor III with a capacity of 150 MW will use solar tower technology.
The projects will serve to promote the “green approach” and will be saving approximately 1,108,600 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions for every year of operation.
ACWA Power will be responsible for the design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the two power plants. For its part, SENER will be providing the solar technology. SENER has a worldwide reputable expertise in solar-thermal technology. Its scope of activity includes the design and supply of some key components of this technology, in addition to the engineering, construction, and commissioning of the equipment.
It is worth noting that in 2012, ACWA Power (along with SENER as technology supplier) won, also under an international competitive bid, the right to develop the 1st phase of the Noor complex, with the Noor I project, a 160MW Concentrated Solar Power plant based on parabolic trough technology. ACWA Power then provided a tariff that was 28.6% lower than the second best bid saving 250 million USD to the Kingdom of Morocco. The construction of Noor I began in June 2013 and is successfully in progress. Noor I is expected to become operational on schedule in the 4th quarter of 2015.