Morocco wind farm, Africa's biggest

2014-04-25 13:02

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Africa's largest wind farm, at Tarfaya in southwestern Morocco, has started generating electricity and will be capable of meeting the electricity needs of several hundred thousand people, officials say.

Installed on 10 000Ha along the wind-blown southern Atlantic coast, the 80m high turbines, 131 in all, will be fully operational in October and produce up to 300MW of electricity.

The North African kingdom has no hydrocarbon reserves of its own and hopes to cover 42% of its energy needs with renewable sources by 2020. It has launched a plan to produce 4 000MW from wind and solar power.

Last year, Morocco officially launched the construction of a 160MW solar power plant near the desert city of Ouarzazate, which is slated for completion next year.

Work started in Tarfaya at the beginning of 2013, and 88 of the 131 turbines have now been erected, according to Mohammed Sebti. Moroccan firm Nareva Holding is carrying out the project in partnership with France's GDF Suez.

44 turbines have been connected to the grid, with the first kilowatts delivered earlier this month, Sebti told journalists at the site.

Production will continue to rise, with its "full commissioning to be completed in October as planned", he added.

Costing around $690m, the wind farm will be the continent's biggest, surpassing Ethiopia's Ashegoda project, with its 84 turbines and 120MW capacity.

It will save 900 000 tons of CO2 a year, according to GDF.

Around 50 employees, of the 700 people involved in the construction phase, will continue working at the site once it is fully operational.

The southwest is the focus of Morocco's wind plans, with the smaller Akhfennir plant, around 100km to the east of Tarfaya, already producing 100MW from 60 turbines.
Read more on:    morocco  |  energy  |  environment

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