Morocco has preselected four out of 19 consortia that presented bids to develop the first phase of a 500 megawatt solar energy project in the south of the country, the agency managing the project Masen said.
Masen named the four preselected consortia as:
- Abeinsa ICI, Abengoa Solar, Mitsui and Abu Dhabi National Energy Co.
- Enel and ACS SCE
- International Company for Water and Power (ACWA), Aries IS and TSK EE
- Orascom Construction Industries, Solar Millennium and Evonik Steag
The prequalification process was to select independent power producers that would design, finance, build, operate and maintain a thermal solar plant in the southern city of Ouarzazate.
The 15 rejected consortia comprised among other firms GE Oil & Gas, Alstom Power, Mitsubishi Corp, SNC-Lavalin Inc., International Power, Lockheed Martin, JGC Corp, Daewoo Engineering and Nareva Holding, owned by a company in which the Moroccan royal family is the biggest shareholder.
Masen said it would send pre-qualified bidders requests for proposals towards the end of January 2011.
Plans call for the Ouarzazate unit to start off as a 125 megawatt unit and then undergo gradual upgrades to reach 500 MW before the end of 2015.
This first phase of the Ouarzazate solar complex will be based on Concentrating Solar Power parabolic trough technologies.
Ouarzazate's 500 MW solar plant is the first in a national $9 billion solar power programme that is projected to include five power stations to account for 38 percent of the country's installed power generation capacity by 2020.
The plan is vital to a country that has no oil or gas of its own and aims to diversify its exports to an energy-hungry trade partner, the European Union.
Moroccan authorities are betting on demand for the clean energy that will be generated by the Desertec project, a 400 billion euro EU plan to use solar power from the Sahara desert to supply 15 percent of Europe's power by 2050.
Morocco aims to export surplus electricity to Europe via Spain, where it has a power market trading licence that allows it to sell electricity.
In preparation for exporting the electricity to Europe, Morocco's power utility ONE doubled the capacity of its interconnector to Spain to 400 MW in 2007.