Saudi green mega project in Morocco faces $47m hit

Saudi green mega project in Morocco faces m hit

ACWA Power International, a Saudi renewable energy company – which has both wind and solar plants in Morocco – has announced that a breakdown at one of its facilities in Morocco, has led to $47 million in losses. As reported by Reuters on March 24th, a storage breakdown at a 150-megawatt plant, part of the Noor Ouarzazate solar complex, will force it to remain idle at least until November 2024.

READ: Zaid M. Belbagi: Morocco’s green energy marvel

According to sources, technical issues have been experienced from as early as summer 2021, when shutdowns halted production for a year. The Noor Ouarzazate, which cost $9 billion, is the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant, and has been hailed as a crucial milestone in Morocco’s efforts to make renewable energy account for 52 percent of its installed capacity by 2030. Nevertheless, these ambitious targets have faced challenges, and current installations in the country are falling short of their planned milestones.

Morocco is currently among the top 5 African countries in terms of renewable energy capacity, with a total of more than 3,727 MW. As a non-oil-producing country, Morocco aims to make itself one of the main exporters of renewable energy to Europe. In recent years, projects like Xlinks, which will connect renewable power from Southern Morocco to the UK’s power grid via submarine cable, as well as significant investments by the UK and the UAE in the construction of solar plants have underlined the government’s big bet in sustainable energy development, seeing it as an issue of extreme national significance.

READ: UK Firm Plans $100B Solar Farms in Morocco

The recent announcement by ACWA Power, which stated that it plans to address the storage problem through a construction of a new storage tank, reflects the difficult challenges faced by Morocco and its investors in achieving these ambitious goals. The shortfall in solar capacity advancement, has nevertheless partially been offset by wind energy, another sector which has seen increasing investments due to the country’s high potential. Despite this, coal plants continue to dominate Morocco’s energy output, and it remains to be seen to what extent this wide array of existing and developing projects will succeed in minimizing this dominance.

While Morocco’s efforts in sustainable energy have been deemed a “miracle”, there is still a long road ahead to meet current goals. This $47 million loss by ACWA Power, who also owns and operates the Khalladi Wind Farm in the east of Tangier, is nothing other than a testament to these challenges.



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