GDF SUEZ launches 301 MW Morrocan wind farm

GDF SUEZ and its Moroccan partner Nareva Holding have started operations at the 301 MW Tarfaya wind farm on Morocco’s southern Atlantic coast.

Built by Tarfaya Energy Company (TAREC), a 50:50 joint venture between both partners, Tarfaya is Africa’s largest wind farm to date.

Comprising 131 wind turbines of 2.3 MW each and spread over an area of 8,900 hectares, the EUR 450mn ($560mn) project will generate enough power to supply 1.5 million homes, a statement said.

The wind farm is expected to yield a high load factor of 45%, which makes it a competitive renewable energy source that will save 900,000 tons of CO2 per year.

The 301 MW capacity represents 15% of the 2 GW target Morocco has set for wind energy development and will therefore contribute significantly to the Kingdom’s objective of achieving 42% installed capacity from renewable energy by 2020.

Gerard Mestrallet, chairman and CEO of GDF SUEZ said: “Tarfaya wind farm provides Morocco with a domestic source of clean energy enhancing the country’s energy independence. Our Group is committed to sustainability and this project will significantly contribute to our objectives for renewables growth worldwide.”

The Tarfaya plant has been contracted to supply electricity to the Moroccan state utility Office National de l’Electricite et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE) under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) on a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis.

Construction of the wind farm started in January 2013 and phased commercial operation commenced in tranches of 50 MW in June 2014. The wind farm will be operated by TAREC.