The Clean Technology Fund of the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) has approved $25 million for Morocco’s Midelt Phase 1 Concentrated Solar Power Project.
One of the largest climate financing instruments globally, CIF provides grants, concessional loans, risk mitigation instruments and equity to developing countries leveraging on funding from the private sector; multilateral development banks including the African Development Bank (AfDB), which also implement CIF projects and programs; and other sources.
CIF recently granted Liberia $23.25 million to enable the country to transform its renewable energy sector through the development of a 9.8-megawatt power plant at Gbedin Falls on the Mano River in Nimba County.
The Morocco project, which is being supported by the AfDB and World Bank, will generate solar power through an innovative hybrid Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic (PV) solution.
It consists of two separate CSP plants, each with 150-190 megawatt CSP capacity and a minimum of five hours of thermal storage.
The envisaged installed capacity of the PV component could reach 150-210 megawatts, making the total capacity of each plant 300-400 megawatts and the total capacity of Phase 1 600-800 megawatts.
Anthony Nyong, AfDB’s Director, Climate Change and Green Growth, noted that Morocco has recorded increased investment in CSP since 2015, citing the country’s Noor CSP program also under CTF.
“This new project, which will be modeled on the Noor operational and financial structure, will increase the development of solar energy and further help diversify the country’s energy mix and enhance its energy security. We believe that the project can serve as a model for other countries in the region and beyond,” Nyong added.
The project is built on a Public-Private Partnership model between the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) and private sector sponsors, with a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer project structure and implementation approach.
Selected sponsors are expected to form a Special Purpose Company to build and operate the plants and sell the generated electricity to MASEN under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), with the process allowing different bidders to be awarded.
The CTF and AfDB support will help reduce the cost of the project’s capital and lower the Levelized Cost of Electricity.
“CSP has been the dominant renewable energy technology assuring electricity during peak hours and by adding a PV component, we expect to enhance the reliability of the power plant,” said Leandro Azevedo, AfDB’s CIF Program Coordinator and Senior Climate Finance Officer.
Azevedo added that combining these two technologies will allow Morocco to optimize the dispatch of generated power during the daytime by ensuring that the utilization of the CSP component can be maximized during night-time through the use of thermal storage.
The project will contribute to the Government of Morocco’s 2030 goal of achieving 52 per cent installed capacity from renewable energy, 20 percent from solar; industrial development; competitiveness; and the creation of 30,000 jobs.
Morocco’s estimated greenhouse gas savings is 1.2 million tCO2 equivalent annually and 36 million tCO2 equivalents over the project’s 25-year lifetime.