Massive Hydro Wind Energy Project In Morocco

A massive new renewable energy project is being planned in Morocco that will combine hydropower and wind power in one single location — a world’s first, at least at this scale. The 1 gigawatt project will double the existing hydropower capacity of Morocco.

The total cost of the hybrid wind farm and hydropower project will be $2.16 billion. As well as the African Development Bank, which is investing $329 million in the project, other investors are expected to want in on such a revolutionary idea, in a nation that has moved to the forefront in renewable development.

As well as making the $329 million investment using its own money, the African Development Bank will also earmark an additional $150 million for the project from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) which it helps to finance with other lenders.

While MASEN, Morocco’s Agency for Solar Energy is becoming world famous for its visionary solar power projects, the Office National d’Electricite (ONE) runs Morocco’s wind and hydro power energy programs.

You might not associate hydro power with a parched MENA nation, but in fact the entire African continent has enough hydropower potential to meet its entire electricity needs, and has tapped only 20% of it, according to a Hydropower Resource Assessment of Africa published a few years ago.

Most of the continent’s existing hydropower projects are in the North African nations of Morocco and in Egypt.

Since the power is to be used in Morocco’s isolated rural areas, it is another opportunity to get the world’s last few billion people without electricity straight onto the clean grid right away, bypassing the dirty grid altogether, and thus it is a very exciting investment opportunity with potentially world-changing effects over the long term.

Morocco has quite admirable renewable energy goals: 10% of electricity by next year, and 42% of electricity from solar power by 2020.

Another project furthering that: The first planned 500 MW portion of the Desertec solar power in the Sahara project is slated to begin construction in 2012.