KfW kicks off first solar-thermal power plant in Ouarzazate

Today KfW Entwicklungsbank, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), signed a loan agreement with the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), as project company, amounting to EUR 100 million for the first large solar-thermal power plant in Morocco.

The agreement was signed in the presence of the Moroccan king. This first power plant will have a capacity of 160 megawatts. Additional plants to be built at the Ouarzazate site will increase the total installed capacity to 500 megawatts.

“By constructing this power plant Morocco is providing a breakthrough for a low-carbon and climate-friendly future technology, while simultaneously reducing the country’s high dependence on energy imports. The ambitious energy plans of many North African countries towards a supply system based on renewable energies are now another step closer to being realised,” said Dr Norbert Kloppenburg, member of the Executive Board of KfW Bankengruppe.

The investment costs for this initial phase amount to about EUR 750 million. Along with the German Federal Government, project participants comprise the European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the French development bank AFD (Agence Française de Développement), together with the World Bank and the African Development Bank. The German contribution – BMZ, BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety) and KfW – amounts to EUR 115 million (100 million BMZ/KfW, 15 million BMU). To further expand the power plant park the German side has pledged a much larger commitment. The power plant will generate enough electricity for about 530,000 people. Compared to conventional electricity generation the project will avoid approx. 310,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

The support from Germany is making an important contribution to expanding renewable energies in Morocco. Just as the support helped finance several wind farms to harness the tremendous wind potential, it is now pioneering efforts to tap the solar-thermal potential.