Prequalification has begun for the second phase of the giant Midelt solar project in Morocco. The project is part of the Noor programme managed by the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen). The Midelt projects employ both concentrated solar power (CSP) and solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies to provide cheaper power during the day and meet peak demand.
The first 800MW phase was awarded to a consortium of France’s EDF, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), and Green of Africa in May. The plant will provide a minimum of five hours storage. EDF told African Energy that the split between CSP and PV technologies, the ownership of the project company and the type of technology to be deployed are all subject to “a confidentiality undertaking”.
Initial plans were for the first phase to consist of two separate hybridised CSP and PV plants. The CSP component of each project was planned to be around 150-190MW and the PV component 150-210MW, making a maximum of 400MW for each plant. A similar structure was contemplated for the second phase but this appears to have been rejected in favour of a single plant.
Prequalification for the second phase was launched on 9 July. The preferred bidder will design, finance, build, operate and maintain the plant, which will produce power during the day using PV and/or CSP as well as a minimum of five hours peak production after sunset. The plant will be built on a dedicated site provided by Masen around 20km north of Midelt on plains around the Moulouya River. During the day, the facility is expected to produce 150-190MW and output at night must be no more than 20% less.
The project company will sign a 25-year power purchase agreement with Masen and will be owned by a lead member, expected to hold at least 35%, as well as a technical member holding 5%, with details to be finalised in the request for proposals (RfP). Masen will likely take a 25% stake in both the project company and the operations and maintenance company. Bidders are encouraged to have a Moroccan partner. A minimum shareholding of 5% may also be introduced in the RfP. Masen expects the project to be built on a turnkey basis through a lump sum fixed-price engineering, procurement and construction contract.
Proposals for levels of industrial integration – Morocco’s term for local content – will be invited on a discretionary and voluntary basis, although Masen will suggest strategies. In its prequalification documents, Masen points out that the Noor-Ouarzazate I solar project achieved 32% industrial integration, while Noor Ouarzazate II and III both reached 35%.
In-principle financing has been agreed with international financial institutions, including the African Development Bank, Agence Française de Développement, Clean Technology Fund, Germany’s KfW, the European Investment Bank, and the World Bank Group’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The group will lend to Masen which will on-lend to the project.
The deadline for prequalification submissions is 16 September 2019 and the RfP is expected to be published on 31 October 2019.
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