PARIS, Feb 7 (Reuters) - French utility GDF Suez says it is to build and operate Africa’s largest wind farm in the desert in southern Morocco as it expands its presence in emerging markets with fast-growing power needs.
The company will invest around 90 million euros ($122 million) in the project, which is due to enter service at the end of next year, Chief Executive Gerard Mestrallet told a conference call on Thursday.
The Tarfaya wind park will have an output of 300 megawatts, representing around two-fifths of the country’s total wind energy capacity.
Several African countries including Kenya and Ethiopia in the east are starting to harness wind power as their energy demands increase.
Morocco, where demand for electricity has risen 6 percent a year on average over the last 15 years, wants to produce 42 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020, GDF said.
The French company, which will operate the Tarfaya wind farm, said its investment would be matched by Moroccan energy firm Nareva Holding.
The project will also be partly financed through 360 million euros of debt provided by a group of three Moroccan banks: Attijariwafa Bank, Banque Centrale Populaire and Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur, GDF said.
GDF has 3,907 megawatts of installed wind generation capacity worldwide. ($1 = 0.7387 euros) (Reporting by Blandine Henault and James Regan; editing by James Jukwey)