Earlier this week, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI officially inaugurated a wind farm in the town of Melloussa. With 165 turbines and a production capacity of 140 megawatts, the farm is touted as Africa’s largest wind farm. Besides significantly reducing CO2 emissions, the farm is expected to save over 125,000 metric tons of oil annually.
With an estimated $300 million price tag, funding for the project came from several sources including the European Investment Bank, Official Credit Institute of Spain, the Moroccan National Office of Potable Water and Germany’s Kreditanstalt fur Wienderaufbau. This is not the first wind project for Morocco. The first farm was constructed in 2000 and several others have been added over the years.
According to reports, the wind farm is just one aspect of a massive $3 billion renewable energy project. Besides wind, the initiative will also include solar and hydraulic power which will supply around 40 percent of Morocco’s electrical consumption needs when completed in 2020. Yamsmina Benkhadra, Morocco’s Minister of Energy and Mining, said that wind, solar and hydraulic will each generate about 14 percent.
Like many parts of the world, Morocco relies on imported oil and coal for its energy needs. The Kingdom of Morocco is the only North African country without its own oil. But Morocco has excellent wind and sun potential and the government is taking steps to develop its renewable energy sources. With an estimated 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, Morocco’s abundance of sun makes solar energy a viable alternative as well. Five solar plants are expected to be constructed by 2020.