Last year the African Development Bank (AfDB) demonstrated its commitment to supporting the scaling up of renewable energy in Morocco with the granting of $800m in loans to the country's wind and solar markets. The Bank's technical and financial support of Morocco's plan for a concentrated solar power (CSP) plant at Ouarzazate was complemented with assistance for Morocco's integrated wind/hydro and rural electrification programmes.
One month after the AfDB approved a loan for [euro]168m from its own resources and a concessionary loan of $100m from the Clean Technology Fund for the first phase of the Ouarzazate project in June 2012, the AfDB made its largest project approval to date with a loan for [euro]359m from its own resources and $125m from the CTF for Morocco's Integrated Wind/Hydro and Rural Electrification Programme. This $2.16bn programme will increase national wind power capacity by 1,070MW and expand rural electrification to nearly 80,000 households in 24 of Morocco's most isolated and vulnerable districts. It is being implemented by l'Office national de l'electricite et de l'eau potable (ONEE).
The wind/hydro component of the project is designed to maximise production from wind, use excess wind energy to store water for the later production of hydroelectricity, and supply water to generate hydro-electricity during the dry season. The project will also support new transmission infrastructure and water storage facilities. Completion is envisioned for 2017.
Without the AfDB and CTF funding, it is doubtful that ONEE's financial capacity could meet the huge capital expenditure costs associated with this programme.
Morocco's wind and solar initiatives are concrete examples of green growth opportunities in Africa. As Hela Cheikhrouhou, the director of the AfDB's Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department explains, "Green growth is about finding the pathway where you achieve your...