Africa’s largest wind farm, at Tarfaya in south-western Morocco, will be capable of meeting the electricity needs of several hundred thousand people, officials say.
Installed on 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) along the wind-blown southern Atlantic coast, the 80-metre (260 feet) high turbines, 131 in all, will be fully operational in October and produce up to 300 megawatts of electricity.
The North African kingdom has no hydrocarbon reserves of its own and hopes to cover 42% of its energy needs with renewable sources by 2020. It has launched a plan to produce 4,000 MW from wind and solar power.
Work started in Tarfaya at the beginning of 2013, and 88 of the 131 turbines have now been erected, according to Mohammed Sebti. Moroccan firm Nareva Holding is carrying out the project in partnership with France’s GDF Suez.
Costing around €500m, the wind farm will be the continent’s biggest, surpassing Ethiopia’s Ashegoda project, with its 84 turbines and 120-megawatt capacity.
It will save 900,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, according to GDF.
Around 50 employees, of the 700 people involved in the construction phase, will continue working at the site once it is fully operational.
The southwest is the focus of Morocco’s wind plans, with the smaller Akhfennir plant, around 100 kms to the east of Tarfaya, already producing 100 MW from 60 turbines.