(Corrected to remove Enel from list of consortia)
By Aziz El Yaakoubi
RABAT, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Morocco has opened a final tender for construction of five wind farms totalling 850 megawatts, worth an estimated $1.7 billion, for which five consortia have been pre-qualified, state-run power utility ONEE said.
Groups led by Spain’s Acciona, France’s EDF , Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power IPO-ACPO.SE, Morocco’s royal holding company Nareva, Britain’s International Power won pre-qualification last year.
“It is one of the biggest wind farm projects in the world,” the utility said in a statement on Thursday.
Morocco aims to tap its wind potential to increase power generation from wind farms to 2,000 MW by 2020 from 280 MW currently at a cost of more than 30 billion dirhams ($3.7 billion).
The project includes a 150 MW wind park in the town of Midelt (centre), 300 MW in Tarfaya (south), 100 MW in Tangiers (north), 200 MW in Essaouira (south) and 100 MW in Boujdour (Western Sahara).
ONEE gave no details on the financial arrangements for the deals.
The project will be built under a public-private partnership with ONEE, the Energy Investments Company and King Hassan Fund, all of which are owned by the state.
ONEE has already installed 250 MW across the country and plans many more facilities. Nareva Holding, the energy arm of investment company SNI which is controlled by Morocco’s royal family, is a major player.
Last year, French utility GDF Suez said that, in a consortium with Nareva, it would start to build Africa’s largest wind farm with an output of 300 MW near Tarfaya in Morocco’s southern desert.
Sources told Reuters that ONEE would buy electricity from the Tarfaya wind park at 0.64 dirham per kWh over 20 years.
Morocco is spending heavily to subsidise power production. It currently imports power from Spain to help meet consumption, which is growing by around 7 percent year.
The cash-strapped government aims to export green power to Europe via Spain in coming years. ($1 = 8.1982 Moroccan dirhams) (editing by Patrick Markey and Jane Baird)