This Desolate Stretch of Desert is Helping Power Morocco’s Economy
The remote, largely desolate and endless stretches of desert along Morocco’s southern Atlantic Ocean coastline have little to indicate the wealth blowing in from the sea. But this region’s strong winds along with wind elsewhere across the Kingdom, have the potential to generate 25,000 megawatts of electricity for Morocco. That’s more than three times the country’s total current installed capacity.
That’s why Morocco is working hard to tap this source of renewable energy, alongside solar and hydroelectricity. By 2020, the Kingdom wants 42% of its power to come from renewables, including 14% from wind energy. The 10-year Moroccan Integrated Wind Energy Project expects to spend an estimated 31.5 billion Moroccon dirhams to lift wind capacity from 280 MW in 2010 to 2,000 MW in 2020.
Today, GE signed its first wind energy deal in North Africa to supply its 1.7-100 wind turbines to add 100 MW of capacity to an existing 100 MW farm near Akhfenir, along Morocco’s southern coast. The project is expected to be operational by 2016 and will include GE’s Wind Farm Control System WindSCADA™. The 1.7-100 wind turbines offer their proprietary 48.7-meter blade, ultra-quiet power production and the highest capacity factor in its class – helping to ensure maximum operational efficiency for the plant.
The power generated by the plant is available to industrial companies, thereby stimulating job growth and supporting the local supply chain. The plant also will allow Morocco to save millions of dollars a years in reduced fossil fuel imports and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
GE’s Chairman & CEO Jeffrey Immelt witnessed the contract signing between Nabil Habyeb, President & CEO, GE, Middle East, North Africa & Turkey and Ahmed Nakkouch, CEO of Nareva Holding, during his visit to the Kingdom.
For more on GE’s activities to support economic development in Morocco and across the region, click here.