The country of Morocco looks to adopt a new solar energy plant and it just awarded the contract to construct and run the plant to a Saudi Arabian consortium. The government has some ambitious plans for the country to lean on solar energy, and it would like to be a leader in that area in the Middle East.
The country wants to show the region that it can reduce its dependence on fossil fuels like oil.
The Moroccan Solar Energy Agency announced that the Saudi International Company for Water and Power, along with the Spanish Aries IS and TSK EE, are set to build a 160-megawatt solar power plant in the Moroccan country’s southern city of Ouarzazate.
Morocco is doing more than simply trying to get its own country off the habit of fossil fuels. While the country has announced a program that should end with five solar power plants by 2020, the goal of that program is to produce enough energy that the nation could actually sell the excess power to other countries.
The 2009 announcement about the program included the intention of eventually spending $9 billion in order for the power plants to eventually make up as much as 38 percent of their power needs.
"We are counting on mobilizing all our efforts to reach this goal, despite the (global economic) crisis," said Mustapha Bakkouri of the solar energy agency.
Bakkouri said the Saudi consortium was able to submit the best financial bid, but the group was also able to come up with the best technical plan for the plant as well. There were actually four different consortiums involved in the bidding on the project, which Morocco hopes will be complete, and the plant operational by 2014.
The Moroccan government says it will be accepting bids for a second plant by the end of this year.
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Edited by Braden Becker