Wind power in Morocco: International Power and Nareva JV to build Tarfaya wind farm

The local and UK JV’s bid of MAD 7.548 per KWH was selected by ONE. A rival bid submitted by France’s GDF Suez was deemed non compliant as it was not fully funded. While GDF Suez’ bid had some backing from Belgium’s Fortis and France’s Credit Agricole CIB, it was not fully funded and so ONE declared it invalid.

Morocco has a plan involving the building of five wind farms to increase the North African state’s wind energy generation capacity to 2,000 MW by 2020, from the approximate 280 MW it currently produces from small wind farms.

Funding of the wind farm project, worth a combined 31.5 billion dirhams, would come from a mix of state and private capital, including foreign investors, the government says.

Morocco is the only North African country with no oil of its own. It seeks to cut its dependency on imported oil and coal by expanding power generation capacity from renewable sources.

Last year, it launched a solar energy project worth $9 billion, which will account for 38 percent of the North African country’s installed power generation by 2020.

International Power and Nareva’s bid has fully committed bank backing from local lenders Attijariwafa Bank and the Moroccan subsidiary of Groupe Banque Populaire.

The gearing ratios for the project have not yet been finalized. Sources close to the project have indicated that it will probably be around 70% to 75% debt financed. Bids to build the project were entered in July 2009 in three separate envelopes containing the technical, financial and tariff elements of each submission.

The tariff opening in the final envelope was scheduled for the end of March. The tender process experienced many delays since bids were first invited in February 2008 before the tariffs were opened on August 16th 2010.

ONE’s advisory team is made up of the US’s Chadbourne & Parke for legal, the UK’s HSBC for financial and Garrad Hassan for technical. The winning bidders are advised by the UK’s Clifford Chance. GDF Suez appointed the US’s Vinson & Elkins and Shearman & Sterling was acting for its lenders.

While International Power and Nareva’s win is an important coup, following the recent reverse takeover of International Power by GDF Suez, the French company will be involved in the project indirectly.